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Two years of supporting entrepreneurship in MENA It’s our anniversary!

Is your walking
business the
to attract talk
funding? noor sweid
The co-founder
Regional investors and Managing Partner
on evaluating of Leap Ventures
your startup pitch really done it all
Mohammed Al-Ayouti
Walid Tahabsem
Mehmet Atici The negotiation
Sami Abou Saab handbook
Omar J. Sati for entrepreneurs
Laith Zraikat
Get what you
want, when you
want it

Bro code
Teenage ‘treps Amer
and Mohamed Yaghi

9 77231 1 541 008 >

CONTENTS february 2016

Entrepreneur and
investor Noor Sweid

24 66 40 36
Walking the talk ASK THE MONEY GUY MARKETING Numbers don’t lie
Entrepreneur and investor Is your business going to 2016 heralds the new era’s Suhail
Noor Sweid attract the funds you need? of content marketing Al-Masri talks about
Leap Ventures Managing Regional investors tell you Ema Linaker on how the stats that indicate
Director and co-founder what they look for when to make your business that the Middle East is
really has done it all evaluating your pitch. messaging effective in the officially crazy about self-
age of video. It takes real employment.
work, ‘treps!
thea myhrvold meeting satya nadella image courtesy microsoft gulf

SKILLSET The power of praise in

The Impact Bias business
Olympian and Ross McCammon
entrepreneur, James Clear, discusses the plusses
talks about how to be of conveying positive
happy when everything messages, and how to do
goes wrong. it right.

Teach Me Now founder Thea Myhrvold meeting Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

4 Entrepreneur february 2016


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Established in 2001, DDE has grown to become a leader in the market, and has recently sustained this achievement by
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CONTENTS february 2016

EHang 184, the world’s first electric, personal
Autonomous Aerial Vehicle, introduced at the 2016
International Consumer Electronics Show

50 44
SHINY Bridging the gap
#TamTalksTech Attracting offline shoppers
Gadgets and doodads to your e-commerce
that you might’ve missed startup can be done.
out on, sourced by a tech CAC isn’t as hard as one
aficionado. Yes, it’s okay to might think if you follow
want them all… and no, it’s these five tips by Pricena
not our fault. founder Haneen Dabain. 52 56
42 45 LIFE Genuine hospitality
Xiaomi smartphones MOBILE TECH Action paired with The Four Seasons Amman’s
launch in Dubai
Xiaomi launches in the intention can make this Vincent Hoogewijs would
Middle East your year like you to get settled in
Four devices with some Building an accountability (comfortably), and he’s
pretty interesting specs structure for achievement executing a top-to-bottom
were introduced at the can make all of the differ- renovation to make that
UAE launch event. ence in your performance. possible.

Mehmet Aitici
and other regional
investors tell you
what they look for
when evaluating
your pitch

Mudassir Sheikha
and Magnus Olsson,
co-founders, Careem

6 Entrepreneur february 2016

CONTENTS february 2016

Henri Asseily,
Manager Partner,
Leap Ventures

58 Rafael Nadal and Adel Ali 20

Bin Ali at the Richard Mille Doha
Bro code
Teenage ‘treps Amer and
Mohamed Yaghi

74 58
MENA startups gets TRAPPINGS
funded The executive selection for
Online platform Artscoops the entrepreneur on your
gets funded on equity list that has everything.
crowdfunding platform Okay, maybe for a little
30 73 Eureeca. self-reward as well.
The Negotiation ECOSYSTEM 76 49
handbook for A congregation of Q+A LIFE
entrepreneurs Eurasia’s entrepreneurial A startup for startups Ten things not to say to
Get what you want, when world Philip Bahoshy wants digital professionals
you want it. Startup Turkey 2016 his online platform Our pick for the top
comes calling, and there MAGNiTT to create a phrase to avoid? “So is
14 will be entrepreneurial tighter knit MENA-wide this social media thing
EDITOR’S NOTE entities from three entrepreneurial like a real job now?!?”
By Fida Z. Chaaban continents present. ecosystem Yes, yes it is.

Dr. Kerry Healey,
Babson College

8 Entrepreneur february 2016

MANAGING DIRECTOR Walid Zok Contact to receive
DIRECTOR Rabih Najm Entrepreneur Middle East every issue
DIRECTOR Wissam Younane
CREATIVE LEAD Odette Kahwagi
ONLINE LIAISON Kareem Chehayeb
COLUMNIST Sindhu Hariharan PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196
COLUMNIST Tamara Clarke
COLUMNIST Shoug Al Nafisi For all commercial enquiries related to
COLUMNIST Erika Widen Entrepreneur Middle East contact
EVENTS LIAISON Mark Anthony Monzon

All rights reserved © 2016.
Lama Ataya Ema Linaker Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors.
Abdulla Barakji Suhail Masri Entrepreneur Middle East and all subsidiary publications in
Jim Camp Ross McCammon the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC
Amal Chaaban Rani Nasr Publishing in the MENA region by Entrepreneur Media Inc.
James Clear Neil Petch No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted
Haneen Dabain Soukaina Rachidi in any form or by any means without written permission of
Con O’Donnell May Rostom the publisher.
Shyaire Ganglani Mark Sephton

Images used in Entrepreneur Middle East are credited when necessary. Attributed use of Printed by Raidy Emirates Printing Group LLC
copyrighted images with permission. All images not credited otherwise Shutterstock.

In addition to our print edition, we’re bringing EntMagazineME

you all sorts of industry news on our web
MIDDLE EAST mediums. Joining us online means getting @EntMagazineME @Fida
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10 Entrepreneur february 2016


We learn things too Wissam Younane,

Entrepreneur MENA is now two years old! Entrepreneur
Middle East

appy anniversary to our There is, in my opinion, a lot
readers! We’re excited to be said for our valued brand
that this edition marks partners- MENA ecosystem entities
two years of us support- and pillars who have supported us
ing entrepreneurship across the profusely by participating in our
MENA region. If you’re part of the events and who have invited us
ecosystem, you know that we’re to participate in their events over
on ground as much as possible, the past two years. Accelerators,
and that we’re talking to you in incubators, investors, conferences,
real-time via social media. But our mentoring programs: we will con-
work isn’t yet done- we want to tinue to support you to our fullest
draw in the outliers. There are tons capability across both print and TREP TALK ME started this venture [BNC
Publishing] along with my
of entrepreneurs (both new and digital, and further our already THE BUSINESS partners. Third, sticking
seasoned) across the region who solid relationships. BNC Publishing to the truth and principles
aren’t yet part of the ecosystem, Regarding our crazy level of inter- of honesty in business is
and that means they are missing action online, we truly appreciate THE ‘TREP always the best option.
out on valuable mentorship, cross that our readers share our content Wissam Younane This is simply that I never
sector collaborations and business, via social media platforms and want to fall short on
and possibly even funding oppor- that you interact with us on those Q What have you learned delivering what I say I will
tunities (that can scale an already same mediums. We’re really proud from your clients over the do, or even what I say I’m
profitable enterprise). that we’ve become the information past two years? capable of doing in terms
outlet for ‘treps in this region, and of client expectations and
we’re thrilled when you write to us A “First, a little extra care deliverables. Fourth, it’s
with your achievements and your in knowing what they truly true that clients like to feel
concerns. From our readership, the need can easily make them spoiled when it comes to
entrepreneurs across the region, we continue to spend, and to rates and benefits. Like in
receive candid emails about fund- consider exploring further every relationship, there
ing struggles, funding wins, venture opportunities with your must be a give and take-
scaling, and new partnerships. business. One example transacting business is no
Keep it up! We want to continue to is that a client of ours different. My fourth lesson
be the MENA entrepreneur’s go-to wanted to fully cancel or is about brand solvency.
So, all that being said, you know point of contact. We’re here to get pay half of the previously If you have a solid brand,
that by now that we apply our own your stories out there, and help you agreed amount for one work hard on keeping it
methodologies: we’re built on a get the recognition you deserve for of the spaces booked. solid- this will ensure that
lean business model and operation, your enterprising spirit, and tire- With a two-minute phone your clients are as loyal to
our entire team act as generalists less work. call, we understood her you as you are to your own
wearing many different hats, and Happy anniversary, ‘treps! concerns and managed to brand. Finally, and this
we growth hack our way forward. save the original contract is extremely important,
From a commercial perspective, amount. My second tip if your client is today
for our two year anniversary, I is that listening to the going through a financial
asked the entrepreneur behind customer is essential. It’s shortage or facing a crisis,
Entrepreneur Middle East, Wissam something I have always support them when you
Younane, to talk shop (that’s him in done with my clients, and can with your rates. They
our Trep Talk ME box). Like all of Fida Z. Chaaban that is one of the reasons won’t forget your gesture,
the entrepreneurs we feature, he’s Editor in Chief that they have never failed and it will come back to
constantly learning and iterating @fida | @fidazchaaban to support me when I you in spades.”
our business model as we progress.

14 Entrepreneur february 2016

in the loop

Despite setbacks, startups and for improvement, primarily

in the realm of getting more
far behind, including “more
new business incubators,” and

SMEs in the Middle East have a

“support.” While only 10.4% “more government funding,”
believe that SMEs have been in addition to “private sector
doing poorly, the remaining mentors/guidance.” However,
bright future, says London Business third of participants believe
that SMEs are doing well.
“fostering female entrepre-
neurship” was at the bottom of
School Survey By Kareem Chehayeb
Half of that third believes that
SMEs are managing to do well
the list- but that might not be
surprising, given that almost

in a “less than supportive” 90% of the survey’s partici-
ondon Business To ‘trep or not to ‘trep? environment. While more pants are male.
School (LBS) has That is the question. entrepreneurial ecosystems in
released the data and When asked about their “ap- the GCC are becoming more F&B and tech is where it’s
results of a survey petite” for entrepreneurship, SME-friendly, some SMEs in at. Which sector appears to
they conducted about almost half (45.4%) of the re- other countries are struggling be the most promising in the
entrepreneurship and SMEs in spondents said that they have to reach their full potential. Middle East? The majority
the Middle East. The survey, considered setting up their It’s another case of flourishing (36.5%) claims it’s F&B, and
whose results were published own business, but haven’t pur- economics being able to pro- 29.8% say IT and tech. Travel
in December last year, was sued it just yet. Is it a matter of vide more for their entrepre- and tourism, hospitality,
conducted with 500 members confidence or comfort? While neurial ecosystem than others. marketing and media all fall
of the LBS community, which 23.1% of the respondents That being said, whether below 10%. Whether it’s the
included alumni, executive claimed to have already set up you’re in the UAE or in Egypt, GCC, the Levant, or North
MBAs, and members of the at least one business, 45.6% there is always more than can Africa, there always have been
school’s Middle East Club. are rather confident of start- be done to give SMEs a lift. many F&B ventures. We’ve
While the survey’s participants ing up their own enterprises noticed some external efforts
were from a variety of nation- soon, and 26.9% aren’t. All in More guardian angels to take them to a new level,
alities, it’s worth mentioning all, it’s safe to say that most –a.k.a. investors- are but not as much as tech. In
that 33% of them originate people are just waiting for needed. Given that there’s the GCC, we’ve seen Qatar,
from Saudi Arabia, and 25% the right time- maybe they’re more that can be done for the Saudi Arabia, and the UAE
from the UAE, which together trying to garner resources, or Middle East’s entrepreneurial heavily prioritize creating
make up 58% of the partici- looking for the right partner. ecosystem, what are some spaces and conditions worthy
pants. It’s also worth noting of the ways to do just that? of a flourishing tech industry.
that 89.2% of the survey’s SMEs are overcoming a When asked to rank certain In Lebanon, we’ve seen the
participants identified them- “less than supportive” measures that could be taken emergence of the UK Lebanon
selves as being male. environment. The survey’s as areas needing improvement, Tech Hub, and a similar
participants were asked to the highest average went to the initiative that the French
The vote of confidence is judge the current situation need for more “private” or an- ambassador announced at
high. Entrepreneurship for SMEs, and 56.3% say gel investors. That said, most the second edition of BDL
is growing in the Middle that there is certainly room of the other measures weren’t Accelerate last December.
East. Most of the survey’s
participants showed confi-
dence at the growth rate of London Business School,
the region’s entrepreneurial Dubai International Financial Center

ecosystem. 37.7% described

growth as “fast” and 30.2%
described it as “steady”- that
said, 24.6% believe that
entrepreneurship is growing
at a “slow” rate. Of course,
it’s important to take into
consideration the diversity of
economies in the region. In the
UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia,
we’ve seen long-term and ag-
gressive initiatives to improve
tech infrastructure and other
conditions that will increase
entrepreneurship. That may
not be the case in countries
such as Egypt and Jordan,
whose entrepreneurs often cite
infrastructural blockades to

18 Entrepreneur february 2016


Bro code
Teenage ‘treps Amer and Mohamed Yaghi
By Kareem Chehayeb

eet Amer and Mo- What inspired them to start up
hamed Yaghi: not only an enterprise of their own was
are the Jeddah-based a combination of their pas-
teens tech lovers, sion for tech and a tiny bit of
they’re also among the teenage angst. The young duo
region’s youngest entrepre- “hated the fact that our par-
neurs. That’s right; the ambi- ents were constantly bothering
tious Yaghi brothers are 16 us and invading our privacy on
and 15 years old respectively, social media,” so they designed
and they’re prepared to pitch Chillax, a social network “just
their ideas at you at any given for teenagers.” Unlike most
opportunity. major social media platforms,
Before getting bit by the Chillax allows its users to con-
entrepreneurial bug, the trol all sorts of privacy levels,
Jeddah-based Jordanian ‘treps all the way from their parents
were (and still are) working to potential cyber bullies.
hard at school, enjoying the Their passion for Chillax,
outdoors and playing sports. together with the support of
their forward-thinking parents,
paved the way for burning The Yaghi brothers
with Ronaldo
passion for entrepreneurship, Mouchawar at
and it became a life-changing Endeavor Jordan
experience. Unfortunately, DealMakers 2015
Chillax didn’t work out in the
long run, but the tenacious Whether its “different manage- in any way. According to the
‘treps didn’t give up: “Failing ment styles” or whether it’s Yaghi bros, the question that
is a stepping stone to success.” a greater passion for tech or most entrepreneurs, investors,
They were right, given that business administration, the and teachers ask them is: how
they later developed a more Yaghis maintain that their dif- do you balance time between
successful app, AidMaid. Sev- ferences make them stronger school and work? The brothers
eral experiences inspired them as a team. The brothers oc- believe that most people are
to develop the app, but what casionally need a mediator and wrong when they “think that
really “triggered” them to have older mentor, and “that’s when it’s impossible for someone
a go at their second venture we go to dad for help.” to attend school [and get high
is a somewhat traumatizing All in all, it’s rather impres- grades] while also working
experience for the younger sive that these two young tirelessly on a venture.” That
brother. Mohamed was riding innovators are able to pursue said, they are able to pull it
his bike and was nearly hit by their enterprising inclinations off, and give credit to two main
a speeding truck driver. While without it affecting their aca- factors: “strategic planning
discussing the event with demic performances or nega- and eliminating non-essen-
Amer, they both realized the tively impacting their lifestyles tials.”
need for “an emergency appli-
cation which would allow users
to ask for help” by pushing a
button or shaking their phone.
That’s what the AidMaid app is
all about, and it is today avail-
able for download on iOS and
Android devices.
As for co-founder dynamics,
how do Amer and Mohamad
work together on a venture as
entrepreneurs? While they
both have similar passions and
Yaghi brothers at Endeavor DealMakers the same admirable work ethic,
2015 in Amman they do have their differences.

20 Entrepreneur february 2016


24 Entrepreneur february 2016

the talk
Entrepreneur and investor
Noor Sweid
The co-founder and Managing
Partner of Leap Ventures really
has done it all By Aby Sam Thomas

“ f you’re looking to
succeed, keep your
2006 and ran until its sale in
2014), she’s been an investor
deals, and we are hoping
that this year, we’ll look at
eyes and heart open in and mentor for several even more. As the pipeline
to opportunities. startups in the Middle East grows in the region, and more
You’ll miss oppor- ecosystem (besides her own people start companies, and
tunities that come portfolio of past investments, more of the companies grow,
to you if you’re Sweid is also a member of more will filter into our pipe-
not open to them. Success is the Board of Directors at line. So, we are very active in
about seizing the opportuni- Endeavor UAE), and she’s terms of looking at deals, and
ties that present themselves currently a Managing Partner then assessing them and see-
to you.” This is what Noor at Leap Ventures, a MENA- ing how many really fit into
Sweid told the audience dur- based growth stage venture our verticals and our man-
ing her keynote address at capital firm. So yes –if that date.” It must be noted here
the Entrepreneur Middle East last sentence’s length didn’t that Leap is solely focused on
Achieving Women’s Forum in make it clear already- Noor growth stage companies- not
May last year, and one look at Sweid does seem to have done startups. So, of the 200 or
her impressive career graph it all. so enterprises Leap’s team
so far makes it clear that this But for all of her wins in reviewed, Sweid reveals that
is, indeed, a woman who has the realm of business, Sweid only 17% of them even quali-
(and continues to) put into had no airs and graces about fied as being in growth stage.
practice what she preaches. her when I met her for this But while the pool of qualified
Sweid definitely seems to interview, during which she applicants may be a small
have an uncanny eye for great freewheeled on everything one, the need for a firm like
opportunities- her work pro- from her work ethic to the re- Leap in the Middle East can-
file reads like that if someone gion’s ecosystem. In terms of not be understated.
who has, really, done it all. what she’s up to these days, “There are a few VC firms
She’s worked for big-name Sweid’s focus is currently [here] that look at early
corporates (these include on Leap, which launched a stage, so companies can raise
Charles Schwab and Accen- $71 million fund for Lebanon $1, $2 or $3 million from a
ture), she has facilitated her last year, and is now in the few different firms,” Sweid
family business’ (the Dubai- process of putting together explains. “But what happens
headquartered global interior an $80 million regional fund. to companies when they actu-
contracting company, Depa) “As with any venture capital ally have solid revenues, a
multi-million dollar growth firm, we do several things good team, they have growth,
and eventual US$1 billion simultaneously,” Sweid says. and they need a $5-10 million
IPO, she’s launched and “So we look at the pipeline, check? It’s that they can’t
run her own business (the we invest in companies, and raise that money regionally;
ZenYoga chain of yoga studios we raise our own funds. Last they have to go global to raise
in Dubai that she founded in year, we looked at about 200 money, which takes a lot of >>>

february 2016 Entrepreneur 25


time and energy from the

entrepreneurs. So rather than
says. “So we are still closing
our first fund- it takes about “Business has ups
growing their business, they
spend exorbitant amounts of
2-2.5 years to raise a fund,
so we are in that process. and downs, but when
time trying to fundraise for
their growth. Globally, about
We find that there is also a
high level of enthusiasm from you become part of
2% of entrepreneurs make
it to Series B growth fund-
people around us, who under-
stand what it is exactly that people’s lives, they
ing, and these are actually
companies we find a lot less
we are doing. That’s actually
going very well. I guess the want you there.”
risky than others, because flip side of the coin is iden-
they have already overcome tifying the entrepreneurs, company. So how did she go culture, but we were lacking
that part [of the entrepre- working with them, and really about making her presence in policies and processes and
neurial journey]. And no one enabling the growth of their felt, and ensure that her voice systems. So how do you bring
here was doing that. So we companies, which is what gets heard? “I think that be- those in without destroying
thought, as entrepreneurs we like to spend most of our cause I had been a consultant the culture? There was an
ourselves –the four partners time doing. So that’s where before, I knew my strengths opportunity, in that there was
at Leap (besides Sweid, the most of our energy goes.” So and my limitations,” Sweid no dominant global player in
Leap team includes Henri what are Leap’s criteria when says. “And when I joined our niche market. How do we
Asseily, Hala Fadel and Hervé choosing entrepreneurs and our family business, I didn’t become that? Why wasn’t
Cuviliez) have each started enterprises to fund? “We are know the first thing about there one? So, my strengths
companies, have each exited looking for something with the industry. It’s easy to learn were mainly the strategic
companies- we have done the a really large market- so, it’s an industry, but that doesn’t thinking, the enablement of
whole entrepreneur thing, great that you can grow and mean you have the experience the growth, the growth plan-
we know how hard it is to you have a great team, but required to be a CEO in that ning, identifying different
actually grow your company, if the market’s very small, firm. So I never intended to markets, identifying potential
and we know that’s where, for then the options are limited,” kind of take on my father’s partners in those markets and
us, the ideal return profile is Sweid replies. “We are [also] role as CEO, and I would be structuring partnerships and
in investment. We’ve all been looking for a leader- an entre- very transparent about that: joint ventures- so I could do
investors: pre-Leap, between preneur who can really lead I cannot walk on to a project all that, which is, in effect,
us, we have invested in about a team, and [has] a strong site and tell you what’s going strategy and growth.”
50 different angel companies. value proposition.” right, and what’s going wrong. But changing -or even
So we have looked at the dif- While Sweid may be heavily So I had no business telling modifying- corporate cul-
ferent parts of the ecosystem, involved with the region’s managing directors or project ture, be it at a startup or a
and as ex-entrepreneurs and startup ecosystem right now, managers how to make money conglomerate, is not a simple
savvy investors, this is prob- her background is from a on-site, because I don’t know! task, and Sweid realized that
ably where we can add the rather different sphere of And even if I were to spend first-hand at Depa. “It’s never
most value, in terms of taking business. She started out her five years learning how a easy, because human nature
a company from ‘I know what career as a consultant for site operates, I still wouldn’t is reluctant to change,”
I am doing; I have revenues biotech and pharmaceutical have as much experience as Sweid explains. “And I got a
too’ to ‘I am a regional suc- companies in the U.S., fol- them, because I haven’t done lot of resistance. But I think
cess story.’” lowing which she moved to as many projects as them, that when you have enough
Since its launch, Leap has Dubai in 2005 and worked because some of them have knowledge, data points, ex-
funded only a few companies- with Depa, a company that plenty of years of experience. perience to convince enough
its latest investment was a was co-founded by her father, So I knew that was very much people to try something, and
reported $10 million in the Mohannad Sweid. “When I my limitation and my knowl- put their heart in it, and
Saudi Arabia-based UTURN came over here, I went to help edge. Where my strengths if in six months, it doesn’t
Entertainment network. But out in the family business for lie are in identifying our work, we can go back to do-
these are still early days for three weeks, and that turned opportunities, our strategy, ing it your way. But at least,
the venture capital firm, and into eight years,” she remem- our growth, our planning, give it six months. And so,
if Sweid’s enthusiasm for bers. “The first three years enabling culture- and when when they see that you’re
the region’s ecosystem is any of that, the company went it comes to growth at a lot of so convinced, but you’re not
indication, one can certainly from $60 million revenue to family businesses, culture is forcing it down their throats
expect more announcements $600 million revenue. And what’s fundamentally impor- -you are just forcing them to
from Leap in the near future. then I ran the IPO for that, tant. Because you’ve built a try it- then it becomes a lot
“There are so many amazing and I continued being very culture- great; now, is that easier to convince people to
entrepreneurs doing great involved.” But even as Sweid a strength, or a weakness? change.” And the company
things, and enabling them recalls the highlights of her Because if it’s a weakness, did change- during her time
to grow into regional, global time at Depa, I can’t help but then you need to change it. If as Depa’s Head of Strategy,
success stories is really what wonder: despite her familial it’s a strength, then that can the company grew from 1,000
we want to do, and so, we do connections, she probably be your biggest strength. So employees in six countries
get excited about the different would still have been seen when I came in, I saw there to 8,000 employees in 22
opportunities out there,” she as an outsider of sorts at the was a very strong corporate countries. In 2008, Sweid

26 Entrepreneur february 2016

led Depa’s IPO- it was the probably, hopefully, do better to fill that gap in the market- processes and policies to
first private company in the with or without us: that’s the she put together a space govern the studio’s day-to-
UAE to be listed on NASDAQ achievement. At some point, that had the ambience, the day activities, Sweid had her
Dubai. But making the family you kind of have to let go of it, qualified teachers, and the hands full through all of the
business a publicly listed and see how it does without set-up she herself was looking years she ran the enterprise.
one- how difficult was that you.” for, and behold, her small She thus went through all of
decision? “I think, in our Sweid’s answer is indicative business, ZenYoga, was born. the oscillations one can ex-
family, we genuinely believe of her own thought process “I started it, so that I could pect to see in a startup’s jour-
that building something that when it came to the lifecycle practice [yoga], with the ney- but in what is perhaps a
outlives you is a much larger of her own entrepreneurial thought that if this was good testament to the “keep-at-it”
success than building some- endeavor, the ZenYoga chain for me, it’s probably good trait consistently seen in suc-
thing that needs you,” Sweid of yoga studios that she for many other people,” she cessful entrepreneurs around
replies. “And none of us are founded in Dubai in 2006. remembers. “And if I person- the world, Sweid too stuck to
very attached to anything we The origin story for ZenYoga ally want this for the benefit her vision, and kept moving
build. On the contrary, it’s is quite a simple one- after of my health, I am sure lots ahead with her enterprise.
about building things for the she moved to Dubai, Sweid, of other people do as well. So “Business has ups and downs,
greater ecosystem that are who calls herself “a huge be- the fact that it didn’t exist but when you become part of
successes in off themselves, liever in yoga,” found the city was just the reason to create people’s lives, they want you
regardless of whether you lacking in spaces where she it. If it had existed, I wouldn’t there,” Sweid says. “So, creat-
are involved or not- that could practice the discipline- have started it- I would have ing that community and that
is the achievement. So, for Dubai may have yoga studios simply gone to classes!” But network is very important.
us getting the company to by the dozen today, but re- while she may have started Yes, businesses have ups and
a point where it’s publicly member that this was 2005, ZenYoga out as a personal downs- but I think if you are
listed, it continues with or and yoga hadn’t become as endeavor of sorts, Sweid soon part of people’s lives, part of
without us, it’s struggle much of a buzz as it is now. saw that what she had creat- the community, and you cre-
with or without us, it’ll then So Sweid took it upon herself ed was actually bigger –much ate a brand and really provide
bigger- than that. “I was right people with something they
in that lots of people wanted like and they need at the same
the same thing- a nice place time, it is quite resilient.”
to practice yoga, with a quali- To its credit, ZenYoga
fied teacher at a reasonable proved to be a sustainable
price. It met everybody’s business in the long run-
needs, and so, demand was Sweid, however, eventually
huge. And so we grew as a sold it to a private equity firm
business; we brought in more in 2014. When I asked her
teachers- by the time I left why she did so, Sweid had a
[the enterprise], we had 72 rather matter-of-fact reply.
people working at ZenYoga, “Well, I started ZenYoga,
and it had become the biggest because there was nowhere
chain here.” to practice,” she says. “So I
ZenYoga’s trajectory as had achieved my goal- I had
a business may be looked created somewhere I could
upon as a startup success practice. At the same time,
story today, but much like any every time I would now walk
entrepreneur in this region, into the studio, I would be
Sweid too had to grapple with inundated with business
sleepless nights thanks to all problems. So it no longer be-
of the challenges she faced came a place I could practice-
when getting her business so it ended up defeating its
on the road. Bureaucratic purpose for me, personally.
challenges were aplenty- for So when one of the firms here
instance, given that yoga was consolidating wellness
wasn’t as prevalent then concepts in the region and ap-
as it is today, getting the proached me, I thought that
business registered properly made a lot more sense- they
with the authorities was a could give it what it needed,
task by itself. The running and I could get somewhere
of the studios was another to practice back!” As for
Noor Sweid at major hurdle- from managing whether she had any struggles
Entrepreneur’s schedules of all of ZenYoga’s letting go of the business she
customers and ensuring they had built up from its infancy,
Women’s Forum in
May 2015 all have a fruitful experience, Sweid dismisses the idea-
to setting out procedures, much like her thoughts on the >>>

february 2016 Entrepreneur 27


public listing of Depa, Sweid ness needs new blood every just in this part of the world, with a laugh, “I’m not going
says she felt the same way once in a while. The reason but everywhere.” you to tell about them!”
about her sale of ZenYoga as Aramex will grow is because As for other faults she sees Jokes aside though, she’s still
well. “My personal philoso- he implemented policies, with entrepreneurs today, reluctant to name anyone in
phy is that you build some- procedures, corporate gov- Sweid feels that they’d be particular (she does mention
thing that doesn’t need you,” ernance, structures, so as to better off if they were to focus UTURN here, but I feel that’s
she explains. “You should be make sure everything is being on just one thing at time. “I a safe answer just to placate
there because you want to be done properly in the manner think lots of entrepreneurs me, than anything else), and
there- not be there, because that he sees fit, without him are trying to do too many her reasoning for that again
if you’re not, it’s not going to being there.” things at once. So they are is so that entrepreneurs will
do well.” This drive to create a all, like, betting on several avoid misconstruing fame as
But wait- isn’t that at odds sustainable, long-lasting horses- but that’s not their success. “I find that when
with what industry leaders business is what Sweid en- job, that’s the investor’s job. people become role models,
say about entrepreneurs hav- courages (and wants to see) You go start one company, then fame and success get
ing to be hands-on with their in all of the entrepreneurs and put all your eggs in one confused,” she explains. “And
businesses? “When they are she meets in her role today basket- as an entrepreneur, I think that the ecosystem
first starting up, yes, they as a mentor and investor- ac- that’s what you are supposed is not yet at the stage where
need to live and breathe the cording to her, for a business, to do, so that someone comes we can afford that. We need
business; everybody does. I being successful and being along and believes you. If you our successful entrepreneurs
did for Zen Yoga, my father famous are two entirely dif- believe in what you are doing, to be focused on growing
did when he started our ferent things, and it’s crucial other people will believe in their businesses and being
family business- everyone that entrepreneurs don’t mix it too. If you are doing two successful entrepreneurs, not
does that at the beginning. the two up. “It’s important or three different things at on being role models and on
You have a few years where for people to realize that once, then that means you a speaking circuit. Because
you are the business, and success is not starting a com- don’t believe in any of them- our businesses [here] are not C

the business is you. But, ul- pany- success is growing a and lots of entrepreneurs do that strong yet- they aren’t M

timately, if you want to grow company,” she explains. “It’s that.” Sweid also wants to see enough success stories here
it to something sizeable, you easy to write a business plan, entrepreneurs talk less, and that we can afford that.” Y

need to think about how you [but] it’s not going to get you do more. “So many times, It may not be the answer I CM

can close your eyes, and know very far. It’s not worth the so many entrepreneurs, they was wanting to hear- but MY

that somebody else is doing paper it’s written on- because say, ‘I’m going to do this; Sweid does have a point. The
this the same way that you that’s definitely not what’s I’m going to do that.’ Well, region’s ecosystem is growing,

would have done it, or even going to happen. It’s difficult why haven’t you done it yet? yes- but we need it to grow CMY

better. And that’s where your to go get your license and Don’t tell me what you are much bigger before we can K

policies, processes, teams registration and everything- going to do- tell me what champion it to the world at
come in, and that’s when you fine, okay, whatever, that’s you have done.” Sweid also large. And with people like
really start to scale. If you are just bureaucracy and money. sounds a warning note for the Sweid along for the ride, one
still needed in every meeting, Then you actually have to die-hard networkers in the hopes that it will happen
you should either be in the build your product. Then you MENA entrepreneurial eco- sooner than later.
startup phase, at which point have to convince people to system. “I think too many en-
that is totally okay. But if buy your product, at a price trepreneurs spend too much
you are a sizeable business, that makes sense for you to of their time in meetings, Noor Sweid’s tips
and you are still needed in make money so that you can and not enough time actually for ‘treps
every meeting, you are doing grow your business. And doing stuff. So unless you are
something wrong.” Sweid then, you have to do that a in a meeting because you are 1. “Know your numbers.”
uses the example of Aramex thousand times. And then, selling your product or ser- 2. “Stay focused.”
co-founder and Vice Chair- you have a company. And vice, don’t take the meeting. 3. “Create value… You
man Fadi Ghandour –one of then, it’s worth talking about! Don’t spend half your year have to create value that
the most vocal champions of I think a lot of people here on conferences. I think if you you can monetize. The
the region’s entrepreneurial confuse fame and success. have an awesome product, focus should not be on
ecosystem- to drive her point And that’s something we see you’ll have to network half as making a profit- but if you
home. “Look at Fadi Ghan- consistently- companies that much. If you have a decent are creating value that
dour- great example. Is he have amazing branding, lots product, you’ll have to net- no one’s willing to pay
involved at all with Aramex of fame, but, you just peel one work twice as much. So… go for, then that’s irrelevant.
[today]? No. And that’s the layer of the onion, and you build an awesome product!” Because you are not really
success of it. It’s that he realize that it’s much smaller At this point, I ask Sweid creating value.”
has built something that no than what one would think. to tell me the names of 4. “Don’t confuse fame
longer needs him. That’s the There are very little revenues, startups or entrepreneurs in and success.”
wow. If he was still day in there’s almost no traction- the region that have actually 5. “Don’t underestimate
and day out involved with but the entrepreneur thinks impressed her, or are worthy the value of corporate
Aramex, he would be helping they are incredibly success- enough to be considered as culture- it gets you a long
it grow, but also stifling its ful. So confusing fame and role models. She takes a mo- way.”
growth, because every busi- success is happening a lot not ment to think, before replying

28 Entrepreneur february 2016


The entrepreneur’s

Finding your negotiation
comfort zone
By Neil Petch

While negotiation is one of the
most crucial business skills
to develop and develop well,
it must be said that it is, for
many, a rather painful part of

the corporate world. Due to a
potentially long list of reasons,
a lot of otherwise extremely
capable business people at all
levels –from the junior sales-
person all the way up to the
Get what you want, when you want it CEO– simply don’t like it.
I have had many colleagues
and friends tell me over the
years they are just not good
negotiators, or “bargainers.”
You probably hear that latter
term used more often on the
personal front, like when you
are on vacation and you get to
haggle with a vendor over the
price of some souvenir– some-
thing that many people simply
dread. While it’s not quite the
same thing as being seated
opposite a potential client or
vendor in an office setting,
there are certainly some paral-
lels. And studies will tell you
this lack of comfort –or this
extreme discomfort– comes
in large part from a lack of
There are those who many
would call “born negotiators,”
but upon a closer look, what
the majority of those so-called
“born negotiators” possess
is simply the gift of gab. That
alone won’t actually help you
too much when it comes down
to the finer art of deal-making.
What will, however, is the
preparation. The true “born
negotiator” is, in fact, the one
who properly prepares for
every encounter. So let’s start
on that note while going into
four other essentials that will
help you find your negotiation
comfort zone:

30 Entrepreneur february 2016


1. Do your homework be buying and talk to others have finished. And this is a to work on that product or
As the old saying goes –fail who have purchased it to see very important point, because service to improve it in order
to prepare, prepare to fail– how much they paid; find out the closing of the deal is to give you that leverage
and this is definitely true what you can about the pain often just the start of a very next time. In other words, a
at the negotiating table. I’m points the potential buyer important working relation- good negotiator does actually
sure these particular words of your product or service is ship or partnership, and you have something of value
of advice will sound rather looking to address; and so on. wouldn’t want that to begin to negotiate over, and no
obvious, but we often forget with one party having hard amount of smoke and mirrors
that the reason something 2. There doesn’t have to feelings. will help cover up a mediocre
turned out to be easier than be a winner and a loser offering.
you thought it would be, or A frequent mistake people 3. Know what you’re
worked out in your favor, is make when it comes to ne- worth, and then know 4. Get the information
because you prepared well gotiating is to go in with the how to leverage it you require
for it. mindset that there has to be As the seller, this one starts Being a good negotiator is a
A quick diversion here to a winner and a loser– or that by taking an honest look at lot like being a good detec-
make a point: consider the someone has to or will come what you are bringing to tive– you need to ask the right
art of public speaking. Again, out with a significant ad- the table. If you are offering questions, and listen carefully
those “born public speakers” vantage. The problem is that a product or service that is to the answers for clues that
are not actually those who anyone going into a negotia- available elsewhere (which is will help solve your case. Or
have simply mastered the ba- tion feeling they must win or pretty much always the case), in this instance, help you
sic tips and tricks, but those come out on top is unlikely to then what is it that makes close a deal with favorable
who prepare well for each compromise enough to seal a your package more attractive, terms. Call it “smart listen-
speech or presentation. You fair deal; and equally, anyone and how exactly does a deal ing,” but what it is about is
cannot, after all, be a good concerned about “losing” is with you bring more value uncovering what you need to
public speaker by turning going to naturally be on the than a deal with one of your hear. And maybe you won’t
up and asking what you are defensive, and may end up competitors? Only by know- uncover it too easily, in which
supposed to talk about, then passing on a very legitimate ing this can you find and then case you have to probe with
trying to smooth talk your and fair offer. subsequently exploit any le- more questions.
way through it. verage over your competitors That 70/30 listening rule
Instead, you research the Having the “walk away” option who are also negotiating with is a great one (that is, listen
material that will go into your is one way to ensure you your prospect. 70% of the time and talk
don’t say yes under too much
presentation, pull it together pressure. this is not to imply
As buyers, we are, most of 30% of the time), but it
in the most logical and engag- in any way that you should the time, naturally skeptical, means nothing if you are
ing manner, then practice it be too quick to call it quits. and we are all used to not getting the information
until you make it look like Negotiations will often be getting the same spiel from you need. You have to be
there is no better authority drawn out and require a lot competing vendors. How persistent and even dogged
on the subject than you. In of back and forth and will are you truly different? Are here. If the conversation is
generally have a fair number
other words, you worked you, in fact, any different? going in circles and you are
of hurdles that need to be
extremely hard to make it overcome. This one is very much based not uncovering what you need
look easy. in reality. That is, if you are to uncover, then you have to
What does this mean for In his book, Negotiation better than your competitors, keep at it. Try different ap-
the negotiation process? Boot Camp: How to Resolve you should be able to show proaches, ask different ques-
Well it can be a number of Conflict, Satisfy Customers, that in the form of results, tions, and if needed, get much
things. And how you prepare and Make Better Deals, Ed through case studies or client more direct.
depends on what side of the Brodow says that he enters references– or with the You will never feel as though
table you are sitting at (buyer every single negotiation look- strong reputation you enjoy you are 100% informed. You
or seller, for example), or ing for a “win-win” outcome. in the market. If you are on simply cannot be. As a buyer,
what the negotiations are Go for what you want, he par with your competitors for example, it is only after
about. says, but be prepared to give in terms of offering, then it you start using that product
Whatever the scenario, away what the other party quickly becomes a price war, or service that you will see
you need to prepare accord- wants too. Barrow says that which is often not much of a what the real value is. But it is
ingly. Find out everything not only will deal success help to anyone’s business. your right and duty to get to a
you can about the person or rates improve with this The point is this: knowing fairly comfortable place with
persons you will be holding attitude, but the style is es- what you are worth may be a respect to informed decision-
discussions with; get as many sential to a positive working bit of a wakeup call for you. making, and if that involves
details as you can about the relationship between both You may not like what you poking and prodding till the
product or service you might parties long after negotiations see. In which case, it is time cows come home, so be it. >>>

Neil Petch is the Chairman of Virtugroup. Petch founded Virtuzone in 2009 before launching Virtugroup, a holding company that has a wider mandate of
supporting startups from establishment; to successful market entry; and all the way through to exit. Petch is also the Chairman of DIFC-regulated GMG,
established in 2010 with offices in Dubai, UAE and London, U.K., providing brokerage services for commercial and investment banks globally. His most
recent venture, PrimalMD, was launched in the health sector and focuses on helping doctors addressing the root cause of illness rather than simply treat-
ing the symptoms.

february 2016 Entrepreneur 31


5. Be prepared to walk outcome. So of all the tips sector competition to contain

away presented here, I will stress costs to both the consumer
Somewhat leading off from that the first point is the one and the government.”
the aforementioned point, you need to keep in mind People who are successful
do always be prepared to call above all others. Each and in diplomacy while serving
quits on a negotiation. In fact, every negotiation you go governmental appointments
in your mind you should be into will be different, so you often carry those skills over
more prepared to do this than want to exhaust yourself to the private sector before
find a deal. Too many things with preparation to make the and after careers in the public
can go wrong with a purchase discussions all that much sector. The idea that many
or a sale or a partnership, so easier. former statespeople later
without a satisfactory level become sought-after private
of comfort, it is not worth it. sector consultants is highly
Having the “walk away” op- connected to the ability to “A successful entrepreneur
tion is one way to ensure you PART 2 reach advantageously- is by definition a successful
don’t say yes under too much The academic’s structured agreements, and negotiator.”
Now this is not to imply in
angle if they’ve demonstrated
prowess at the negotiation
Dr. Kerry Healey, Babson President

any way that you should be Learning the tricks table. The skills required “Negotiating skills are incred-
too quick to call it quits. Ne- of the trade to navigate widely different ibly important! We [at Babson]
gotiations will often be drawn interests and goals during ne- believe that a successful
out and require a lot of back “Of the many public sector gotiation periods fraught with entrepreneur is by definition
and forth and will generally negotiations I have been stressors, and the impact of a successful negotiator in the
have a fair number of hurdles involved with, the most a well-negotiated deal is an broadest possible sense of
that need to be overcome. complex and impactful was achievement in itself. the term. The most successful
Those win-win scenarios that passing Massachusetts first- entrepreneurs have created
bring the most long-term in-the-nation healthcare products and services that en-
benefits are almost never reform legislation when I FOUR QUICK STUDY TIPS gage the customer where they
quickly and easily decided. In served as Lieutenant Gover- ON NEGOTIATING AS A ‘TREP are and move them to a place
fact, the bigger the deal and nor with Governor Mitt Rom- By Dr. Kerry Healey that the visionary entrepreneur
the greater or more impactful ney,” says Babson President, can see.
the long-term gains may be, Dr. Kerry Murphy Healy. 1. KNOW YOUR ALTERNATIVE The interplay between the im-
the more there is to discuss “While healthcare reform was ROUTE, AND That of the mediate needs of the customer
through in advance. In short, a broadly desired goal, there other party and the vision of the entre-
the more there is to win or were significant differences in “First, make sure to know preneur is in itself a type of
lose. the approaches and priorities your alternatives (what do negotiation. For example, Doug
of the numerous negotiating you do if you walk away from Rauch, former CEO of Trader
Seeking a favorable parties, including the federal a deal?), and know the other Joe’s and CEO of Conscious
outcome? There is government, the state legis- party’s alternatives. This type Capitalism, describes launch-
no substitute for lature, insurers, hospitals, of assessment and data gath- ing his newest venture, Daily
preparation doctors, and consumer ad- ering is important to perform Table, as an initially very tough
There are great business vocacy groups.” One doesn’t before you enter into a nego- negotiation between his tar-
lessons to be learned from need to be well-versed with tiation. This advice is often geted customers -hard-working
reading about Houdini. He healthcare reform or with what negotiation professors people on a tight budget and
was known for making his U.S. government policy and will say is almost the only no time to cook- and his vision
escapes look so easy and procedure to understand the advice you really need for any of providing healthy, delicious,
effortless that people were exceeding difficulty of the negotiation.” nutritious food to people with
sure that he was aided by situation Dr. Healy describes. limited financial resources.
some sort of magical power. The latter situation, one that 2. MAINTAIN YOUR Doug needed to hear that
The truth, however, is occurred during her tenure as DECORUM, BUT STAND financial constraints were only
that his tricks were often 70th Lieutenant Governor of YOUR GROUND part of the problem his busi-
incredibly grueling and Massachusetts from 2003 to “Second, never confuse ness would need to address
required tremendous physical 2007, proved successful not being ‘nice’ with giving up if his business model were to
ability, and Houdini practiced only for the state, but as a economic value. Being nice – succeed. ‘Negotiating’ with his
and prepared until the lasting hallmark of her career and striving to form positive customers changed the details
execution was perfect. since it has since been adapt- relationships- does not mean of his product; shifted his focus
Negotiation is one of those ed as a model for other states, you have to make monetary from selling low-cost groceries
things that the more prepared and “nationally in an effort concessions. As our students to adding affordable, healthy
you are, the more confidence to strike the delicate balance are often reminded, some- pre-prepared meals, while he
you have, and the greater between extending coverage times walking away from a held fast to his mission. It’s
the likelihood of a favorable to all, while engaging private deal is the best thing to do.” been a win-win outcome for
Doug and the neighborhood!”

32 Entrepreneur february 2016


3. KNOW Where to draw way. Negotiation is the effort can take that pain away, then The recommended read
the line to bring about agreement it’s time to align your prom- By Amal Chaaban
“When I asked some current between two or more parties, ise with a cost.
students this question, their with all parties having the Many entrepreneurs regard The Negotiation Book: Your
response was unanimous: right to veto. True, the their good or service as Definitive Guide to Successful
don’t compromise on liquid- topic of money is invariably merely another product the Negotiating by Steve Gates
ity- many young businesses involved in this process. But prospective buyer will stock,
fail due to inadequate cash to good negotiation includes or a service to replace the one There is perhaps no more
fund operations.” other critical components currently in use. However, important skill in business than
that most entrepreneurs if what you’re offering is the art of negotiation. A good
4. EVALUATE YOUR either ignore or are unaware unique, then you’re present- negotiator can sculpt favourable
APPROACH of. Here’s what you’re ing to the other side not an deals, advantageous employ-
“Babson faculty teach probably doing wrong, and interchangeable offering but ment contracts, or even diffuse
that you do not have to be how to get it right. an opportunity tied to the difficult situations using finely-
unpleasant to make your in- better vision you have just honed skills. Steve Gates has
terests and positions clear in 1. You think that you’ve painted for the buyer. Such released a second edition of his
negotiations. To avoid a tense told the other side opportunities often come book, updated for a world that
or tough situation, we teach everything they need with higher price tags, which has changed in expectations but
that the best thing to do is to know. you had better be prepared to still wants the best bottom line
to articulate what you want Do the following statements defend. for their dollar. He does this by
and why, and take a learning sound familiar to you? explaining how negotiation is
approach to understand why I. “My product has organic 3. You fail to realize both an art and a science that
the other side may not want ingredients.” that every moment with when practiced correctly, can
a specific aspect of deal. In II. “My services have a a potential client is a get the most out of a situation
these challenging situations, money-back guarantee.” negotiation. be it for a finite contract or an
we recommend adopting a III. “My customer support is This goes back to my original ongoing long-term partnership.
‘just want to learn’ attitude available 24/7.” observation that most en- Your Definitive Guide to Success-
rather than taking a ‘this is a Sorry, but those are just trepreneurs identify a very ful Negotiating uses the term
fight’ approach.” facts. What you must do narrow window as the time “Complete Skilled Negotiator”
is provide your potential frame in which to discuss instead of just “Successful Ne-
buyer with a vision. And I’m money. However, if the only gotiator” in referring to some-
PART 3 not talking benefits, which
are often just repackaged
time to seal the deal is when
you’re “negotiating,” then
one who has both the abilities
and the approach. Everyone can
The pro’s angle facts. Here’s the sequence: what are you accomplishing pick this book up as it will prove
Adjusting your after you describe the other when you network or partici- useful in both professional and
person’s pain and dissatis- pate in tradeshows? If you’re personal situations- after all, we
mindset to prevent faction, you present a true saving negotiating for some will all have to wrangle terms at
negotiation fails picture of what his or her life future date, then are you some point.
By Jim Camp will be like after using your simply handing out business
products or services. In other cards?
The reality is most entrepre- words, address how what Every moment you spend
neurs begin to think about you’re selling will dramati- with someone you might do
negotiation (this includes the cally alter the potential cus- business with -which means
word “negotiation,” setting tomer’s problem. Then let the just about anyone you meet
up a meeting, and the overall person take in the specifics of anywhere, at any time- is a
negotiation process) only the new peace of mind they chance to create a vision for
when it’s time to be shown will enjoy by doing business them. If you’re certain that
the cash. In other words, in with you. you would display a warm,
the minds of just about every nurturing and calm demeanor
small business owner, a ne- 2. You fail to connect during a formal negotiation,
gotiation is when the money the vision with your fee. then convey the same traits
talks. If you know your potential at a busy industry event
See this article in its entirety at

Nothing could be further client’s pain (which could and see how you can make
from the truth, and I can’t be as simple as, say, their the other person realize you
imagine the millions of current supplier’s inability can help them achieve their
dollars entrepreneurs have to meet the delivery target goals. Every interaction with
lost, over the lifespan of dates) and you’ve rendered a potential client is a negotia-
their businesses, by defining a vision of that pain back to tion. No tables or conference
negotiation in such a limited them and explained how you rooms required.

Jim Camp is a negotiation coach with a global clientele and the creator and chief executive of Negotiator-Pro, a negotiation strategy and training platform. He is also
CEO of The Camp Negotiation Institute and author of Start with No: The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know.

february 2016 Entrepreneur 33

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in pictures
Dr. Hadil Al Hani Al Zubair,
Moosa, PhD Chairman,
researcher Sharakah
and Oman TV

Ghassan Abdullah Al Jufaili,

Talhouk, Head General Manager,
of MENA Sharakah
Growth Markets,

Coming together
The Sharakah Forum in Oman brought
together the media and SME sectors to discuss
collaboration and growth for the Sultanate’s
entrepreneurial ecosystem

ore than 200 people Role of Media in Supporting
came together at the SME Development, the forum
first installment of featured speakers hailing from
the Sharakah Forum print, digital and broadcast
in Oman, which was held at media backgrounds, all of
the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah whom relayed their insights
Resort & Spa on December 15, on how entrepreneurs can Entrepreneur
Middle East
2015. The event, which was make best use of the various Managing Editor
staged under the patronage of platforms available to them. Aby Sam Thomas
Oman’s Minister of Informa- Speakers at the event included
tion H.E. Dr. Abdul Munim the Hon. Hatim Al Taie, Oman
bin Mansour Al-Hasani, was State Council Member and
inaugurated in the presence of Editor-in-Chief of Al Roya
Sharakah Chairman and Board Publishing, Ghassan Talhouk,
Member Hani Al Zubair, and Head of MENA Growth
saw attendees from a variety of Markets, LinkedIn, Turki Al
backgrounds- these included Balooshi, founder, Al Balad
entrepreneurs, SMEs, govern- Online Newspaper, and Aby
ment officials, academics, Sam Thomas, Managing Editor,
students and more. With the Entrepreneur Middle East.
theme of the event being The

february 2016 Entrepreneur 35


Numbers don’t lie

Indeed, in a region where about a third
of the youth population are unemployed
(the highest youth unemployment rate in
the world), the formula is quite simple: to
build jobs, encourage entrepreneurship.
To encourage entrepreneurship, reform
The Middle East is officially the regulatory framework and step out of
the way.
crazy about self-employment In the MENA, both private and public sector
By Suhail Al-Masri employees think of starting their own

business. In fact, 62% of all employees
are currently thinking of starting their
ccording to the Entrepreneurship in the Middle East sur- own business, while 20% have tried in the
vey, November 2015, 64% of working-age respondents past but cite they have failed or could not
in MENA region would rather have their own business do so for different reasons. Only 11% of the
workforce in the MENA region have never
than be employed. Yes, you’ve read that right. 64% of thought of starting their own business.
people in MENA, aged 18 and above, would prefer to
be entrepreneurs according to the survey we executed on The facts: Middle East
millennials want to be
Six of every 10! Self-employment has acquired much significance in entrepreneurs
recent years and in light of the political and economic turbulence in Our research has shown over and
over again that young people in the
the region, lack of jobs, oil price fluctuations, and a growing desire for region are becoming more interested in
independence among the youth population, it is nothing but a logical running their own business than being
by-product of these circumstances and a (very) plausible solution to employed. And unlike their parents
Reasons for preferring to be ‘ self - employed ’ – By country and grandparents, for many millennials
the problem of youth unemployment in the MENA. climbing the corporate ladders isn’t a
Q. Why do you say that you would prefer to ‘ be self - employed/ have my own businesses ’?
> Reasons for preferring to be self-employed, by country

Total Algeria Bahrain Egypt Jordan Kuwait Lebanon Morocco Oman Qatar Syria Tunisia UAE

Base: 5,249 429 64 1,457 346 156 152 348 89 158 1,048 26 195 781
Personal fulfillment 54 34 45 60 57 48 50 56 55 51 58 54 48 52

Freedom to choose
40 42 39 35 43 40 34 40 45 43 42 46 43 46
- life balance

Higher monetary gains 36 30 42 37 42 37 36 24 31 28 43 54 33 34

Be my own boss 35 36 42 27 38 42 39 32 38 45 37 35 45 41

Ability to give back to

32 33 28 28 35 28 25 43 45 37 34 38 36 31
the community

Freedom to choose
30 27 33 25 32 36 28 28 33 34 34 38 28 36
what to work on

Build business children

30 18 30 34 33 29 26 20 26 30 37 35 18 28
can inherit

Sense of pride 23 18 20 19 26 24 20 23 34 21 28 15 21 25

Freedom to choose
19 16 19 16 22 23 18 19 13 23 21 19 16 22
whom to work with

Avoid uncertainties
associated with 12 9 13 9 13 14 13 8 16 19 11 15 6 17

Family members are

charts ©

3 3 2 3 3 4 7 2 4 3 3 - 3 5
- employed

Base: Those who say they would prefer to ‘be self -employed/ have my own business ’ (5,249)

36 Entrepreneur february 2016

All figures are % ’s Small base for Bahrain (64), Oman (89), very small base for Syri a (26)
Possibilities of a better job with a different major/school

The craze of self-employment has just > possibilities of a better job with a different major / school
begun and is expected to soon fuel the
next generation of jobs in the MENA region.
GCC Levant North Africa
Entrepreneurship has a ripple effect on
societies: it leads not only to new jobs, but
KSA UAE Qatar Lebanon Jordan Egypt Algeria
also to better services and an improvement All figures are %’s

in the standard of living, giving individuals

Base: All respondents 237 155 34 34 153 202 76
a greater stake in the future.
Yes, with a different major 36 28 15 44 29 28 25
goal they are struggling to attain; in fact,
eight in 10 fresh graduates in the MENA Yes, from a different school 15 18 29 6 10 11 12
might be turning their backs on the
traditional career path soon and instead Yes, both different major
12 19 29 15 14 23 14
and different school
become owners and runners of their
own business, as revealed in the Fresh No 37 34 26 35 46 39 49
Graduates in the Middle East survey,
July 2015. Young people today want to be
independent, build their own futures and
have a fair chance to compete. As a matter (47%) of millennials in the region that is performing well, while 23% have
of fact, the Millennials in the Middle East consider the lack of work-life balance to an established but underperforming
survey, February 2014, has shown that be a main cause of stress. Moreover, 30% business.
financial stability and independence is the mentioned long work hours at the office When it comes to reasons for being
top priority for 78% of millennials in the was the cause of their stress, while 25% self-employed, 54% of respondents
MENA. The same survey has also revealed said that heavy workloads affected their in the Entrepreneurship in the Middle
that 66% of them want to learn and well-being. East survey say they do it for personal
explore new things, while 57% would like Currently, a third of MENA respondents fulfillment; 40% believe it affords them
to spend more time with their families. (33%) who are self-employed are at the the freedom to determine their work-life
Alternatively, when it comes to the startup stage of their business; 22% balance; and 36% do it because they
biggest causes of stress, almost half said they have an established business believe it brings about higher monetary

Ease of >starting
ease up ofastarting
new businessup a new business The best cities for entrepre-
neurship in the Middle East
3 5 6 6 4 2 SMEs are a pivotal force for any flour-
10 14
14 18 10 12 9 11 ishing economy and are considered one
20 24 16 of the main drivers for innovation and
20 25
31 employment generation in a country, and
21 35
according to the Entrepreneurship in
25 21
23 23
34 the Middle East survey, 83% of MENA
19 respondents personally know at least one
11 32
26 37 19 entrepreneur in their country of resi-
22 26 25
dence; 97% of whom are believed to have
14 12
7 5 5 5 7 3 been successful.
Algiers Manama Alexandria Cairo Amman Kuwait City Beirut Casablanca In the MENA, both private and public
sector employees think of starting
their own business. In fact, 62% of all
Don't Know Bad Poor Average Good Excellent employees are currently thinking of >>>

The top three difficulties cited by those

8 3
9 14 12 11 12 17 11 who have started their own business
24 21
17 21 25
include the unavailability of financing
(65%); economic instability in their
30 24 country (28%); strict governmental rules
25 28 32 and regulations (28%); and a perceived
16 15 16 24 need for personal connections or ‘wasta’
5 10
16 30
7 7
(28%). According to the Top Cities in the
14 17 4
16 19 13 14
Middle East survey, October 2015, Dubai
8 7 11 4 ranks as the top city for starting a
Muscat Doha Jeddah Riyadh Tunis Abu Dhabi Dubai Sharjah business, followed closely by Abu Dhabi.
All figures are %’s

february 2016 Entrepreneur 37




starting their own business, while 20% include the unavailability of financing SMEs are a pivotal force for any
have tried in the past but cite they have (65%); economic instability in their flourishing economy and are considered
failed or could not do so for different country (28%); strict governmental rules one of the main drivers for innovation
reasons. Only 11% of the workforce in and regulations (28%); and a perceived and employment generation in a country,
the MENA region have never thought of need for personal connections or ‘wasta’ and according to the Entrepreneurship
starting their own business. Perceptions (28%). According to the Top Cities in in the Middle East survey, 83% of MENA
vis-à-vis ease of starting up a business the Middle East survey, October 2015, respondents personally know at least
vary, with 13% of respondents indicating Dubai ranks as the top city for starting a one entrepreneur in their country of
they believe that setting up their own business, followed closely by Abu Dhabi. residence; 97% of whom are believed to
business is somewhat easy or even In fact, Dubai ranked either good or have been successful.
extremely easy, while more than half excellent among respondents on the
(56%) of MENA respondents believe following factors: the ease of starting a What’s next?
that entrepreneurship in the MENA is new business (52%), lack of bureaucracy The craze of self-employment has just
somewhat difficult or very difficult. in procedures and paperwork (52%), ease begun and is expected to soon fuel the
The top three difficulties cited by those of finding finances to start a business next generation of jobs in the MENA
who have started their own business (50%), market willingness to accept new region. Entrepreneurship has a ripple
ideas and innovations (68%), market effect on societies: it leads not only to
When it comes to reasons for being saturation (55%), the ability to find new jobs, but also to better services
self-employed, 54% of respondents in the local talent to employ (52%), and the and an improvement in the standard of
Entrepreneurship in the Middle East survey affordability of taxes and fees (48%). living, giving individuals a greater stake
say they do it for personal fulfillment; Other cities such as Manama, Sharjah, in the future. Fortunately, more and
40% believe it affords them the freedom to Muscat and Doha, also emerged in the top more people in the MENA are looking
determine their work-life balance; and 36% cities that scored extremely well on the at entrepreneurship options. Despite
do it because they believe it brings about entrepreneurship factors used in the Top the challenges, our research indicates
higher monetary gains. Cities in the Middle East survey. that entrepreneurship has become more
popular than ever before.
Encouraging entrepreneurship should
Career> Growth
career growth be every country’s focus across the
region, as it bolsters the economy and
7 8 4 4
3 3
7 drives innovation. While young people
16 18
25 18
16 in the MENA are keen to start their
30 23 26 own business, financing is still a key
34 34 hindrance that business owners face. This
28 40 31 30
39 may suggest that the region needs more
investors to step in and help aspiring
entrepreneurs through funds, business
25 21 21 27 27
21 31 15 mentorship, lobbying for less bureaucratic
6 3
3 4 4 4 3 1 7 hurdles, micro-financing, and promoting
Algiers Manama Alexandria Cairo Amman Kuwait City Beirut Casablanca
the spirit of entrepreneurship, among
other solutions to turn the startup dream
into a reality.
Don't Know Bad Poor Average Good Excellent

Young people today want to be

independent, build their own futures
11 15 13 12 5 12 14 17 and have a fair chance to compete. As a
25 23 25 29
28 matter of fact, the Millennials in the
32 21
40 Middle East survey, February 2014, has
28 shown that financial stability and
35 29
36 26
42 independence is the top priority for
28 78% of millennials in the MENA. The same
21 32
18 15
11 13 12 survey has also revealed that 66% of
2 5 4
4 4
4 them want to learn and explore new
Muscat Doha Jeddah Riyadh Tunis Abu Dhabi Dubai Sharjah things, while 57% would like to spend
more time with their families.
All figures are %’s

Suhail Al-Masri is the VP of Sales at Al-Masri has more than 20 years of experience in sales leadership, consultative sales, account manage-
ment, marketing management, and operations management. His mission at goes in line with the company’s mission to empower people with
the tools and knowledge to build their lifestyles of choice.

Image still from Red Bull’s Kaleidoscope video on YouTube

2016 heralds the Video has become

popular with people
new era of content because it’s easy
marketing to consume. It’s an
engaging and easily
digestible format that
How to make your business messaging effective comes in all shapes
in the age of video By Ema Linaker and sizes. 2015 by

itself was a busy year in video Video consumption
n the ever-changing fast-paced world of digital, marketing: in July, YouTube in MENA
social and mobile communications, complete announced that 400 hours What’s driving increasing
of video were being uploaded consumption here in the
with 24-hour news cycles and Facebook, Twitter, to the site every minute, Middle East is the fact that
Snapchat et al reinventing the publishing model, and in November, Facebook you can easily watch video on
we will see video communications for brands and announced that they are the go on mobile platforms like
services become mission critical as newsfeeds become generating eight billion video YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat
overcrowded and result in reduced engagement over views per day. According to and Instagram, and in a
Tubular Labs, 654.7 million mobile-first market, this is
time. This, combined with ad blocking in various forms, videos have been uploaded very important for businesses
means that businesses need to focus on quality content, by 66.7 million creators in to understand. According to
and services with “fewer, bigger, better” video-first ads the last year to more than 30 IPSOS MENA’s 2015 Digital
that offer a powerful combination of superior audi- video platforms. And these Audiences in MENA report,
videos have 2.8 trillion views, video features in the top four
ence targeting, engaging creative, and user interaction. or an average of 4,390 views
Shows like CES this year have changed the game plan per video. But that’s old news. Let your communication
again, launching new technologies and new platforms What does the future of video be a reflection of your
like Peach, which means that entrepreneurs can be left marketing look like? And how voice and those within your
should you understand what’s business. The adage, ‘people
scratching their heads, wondering what this is all about, buy from people,’ still
best to deliver effective video
and how they can best catch up. If you haven’t heard marketing on your corporate
rings true, and nothing
is more effective than
already, video is the single biggest content format that websites, social platforms, and

watching real people with

all businesses need to get familiar with in 2016. online ads? real stories.

40 Entrepreneur february 2016

activities in KSA and UAE on year, like Netflix, we will find a
desktop and mobile. YouTube lot of filmmakers and directors
clocked in the top three shifting their business models
favorite websites to use on from the typical big budget
either your phone or at home productions and cinema to
to consume video content in an increased focus on film-
both markets. We are also making and then streaming
seeing a huge shift from TV via online channels. This, of
viewing to online viewing, course, will help support and
and from broadcast viewing to grow the premium content
digital viewing. Channels like side in the Middle East, which
Netflix, ICFlix and StarzPlay is vital.
will only continue to grow in For me, this provides brands
the region as Smart TVs grow, and companies with a huge
and people’s habits change to opportunity. We know that
become more dependent on people want to consumer
their online platforms. digital entertainment whether
that’s music, content about
Video storytelling over time people, or blogs through
requires thought, plan- this medium. The demand is
ning, management, creation, massive on mobile video for
production, deployment, brands to deliver entertain-
analysis of what is resonat- ment through this channel.
ing, amplification through
smart media activation, and
fan/influencer programs. 10 key learnings to
Jumeirah Inside | 360 Degrees of Luxury video in collaboration with Google
It sounds daunting, but the deliver effective video
rewards can be huge. marketing for your
Key video formats you should know
However, what is surprising Online video has become the Livestreaming or longer. But this form
is that there is such a small new opportunity for brands Driven mainly by the of storytelling requires as
pool of ‘creators’ for this to really provide them with ‘raw’ social platforms like much planning as a three-
format. Video marketing in what they’re looking for– be Periscope, we are seeing minute video, if they are to
MENA is still in its infancy in it entertainment, information some fascinating innovation be compelling. Check out
the region, when we compare or utility, this medium is from brands on product Intel’s Vine platform for a
it to developed markets like changing the way we engage launches, interactive masterclass in short-form
the U.S. and Europe. Despite with customers and drive experiences and events video storytelling.
the huge popularity of digital business results. There are using this format. Doritos
viewing platforms like You- a few ways that I believe >>> launched a new product Vloggers
Tube here in the region, there called “Roulette” chips If you’re looking for partners
has been very little investment 360-degree video and on Periscope and drove to work with on quality video
of time and effort in building shooting in 4K might sound engagement across Twitter content creation, check out
scary, but there are plenty
video content. We tend to see and Vine. Disney’s Makers Studio local
of really fantastic agencies
the same handful of vloggers (like ours) that can create to you. They have access to
in the Middle East, and not all this type of video content for 360-DEGREE VIDEO some of the best local and
of them are producing quality you, if you feel your story 360-degree video gives international talent who
content. So, I predict that this warrants the investment. your customers the best understand the medium and
immersive experience they the audiences they’re trying
can have without being there. to reach.
For a great example of how
powerful this can be, check User generated
out the wonderful Google/ content (UGC)
Jumeirah Inside partnership Users are now making and
that produced the immersive sharing video. Savvy brands
Burj Al Arab experience. are harnessing this behavior
and ‘raw’ talent to help shape
Short-form their own brand stories.
Short-form videos are pretty Burberry’s Art of the Trench
simple in their premise- is a wonderful example of
these can be of six seconds this.

Kevin Hart’s Training: Inner Strength video

february 2016 Entrepreneur 41


companies, whether large or ture from the normal strategy and gender info, the
small, can become really smart of including a non-sports star resulting personal
video producers. It doesn’t in fitness/health messaging profile automatically
necessarily require huge campaigns. The release of tailors the short
production budgets (although Kevin Hart’s Training: Inner film to the perceived
that is a nice to have). Strength video is really im- preferences of the
pressive, and his attitude and viewer. For example,
1. Plan video as part of his drive are very inspiring. the action may be dif-
overall communications ferent in some scenes,
In the new era of video- 2. Be social one character may get
first where you can produce Rest assured, if you aren’t more screen time than
360-degree immersive video maintaining a strong online another, and certain
for your restaurant or hotel, it social presence, it’s likely scenes may be cut
is important to get the basics that your competitor is. altogether. Storyline
right, and that means you need Find the websites and social and direction aside,
to start with a plan and a plan networks your audience hangs the whole appearance
to invest both time, effort and out, and dedicate some time of a shot can be altered with remain the same– try and
some money into this highly (yourself or somebody else) different color grading, and the make sure you spend enough
effective way to sell. to developing a voice in that film’s score takes cues from time getting to know your
Video storytelling over time arena. You don’t need to be your music tastes. I know this customer well enough to tailor
requires thought, planning, everywhere; you just need might sound a bit in the realm the content and the platform
management, creation, pro- to be somewhere relevant. of Star Trek, but the principle you choose to their habits and
duction, deployment, analysis Choose which social networks for you and your business behaviors.
of what is resonating, ampli- you plan to utilize, and then
fication through smart media create a library of great What’s driving increasing 3. Have a GIGGLE- ENTERTAIN
activation, and fan/influencer content that genuinely engages consumption here in the people!
programs. It sounds daunting, with those that matter most. Middle East is the fact that Why is Netflix one of the most
but the rewards can be huge. The BBC has taken this one you can easily watch video on successful new brands of our
Find out what you want your step further by developing the go on mobile platforms time? Because it delivers
like YouTube, Facebook,
video stories to do for your a mobile app that analyzes Snapchat and Instagram, and
entertaining content to us
business, and then you can music listening habits, and in a mobile-first market, when we want it, how we
plan more efficiently. Already asks questions about users’ this is very important for want it, ad free! If you apply
in 2016, we can see a depar- personalities. Paired with age businesses to understand. a similar approach to your

Red Bull’s Kaleidoscope video

42 Entrepreneur february 2016

video content creation in
that you want to entertain,
inform, delight or excite your
viewers you won’t go wrong.
If you want some inspiration,
then the Emirates Benfica
Safety Video campaign is a
great example of how to make
people laugh.

4. Tutorials
Another way to get your
customer’s attention is by
posting tutorials. Tutorials
help viewers by offering them
valuable information, and
those who have benefited
from them will more likely
check your brand again. Over
time, it creates trust and
helps establish you as an
Emirates Benfica Safety Video campain
expert in the industry. The
secret to keep your audience
engaged? Make them wonder 6. Explore app marketing 8. Be authentic to your you should, wherever possible,
what happens at the end of with videos core business values make significant investment in
the video. Look no further There has been a seismic shift Let your communication be quality production to explore
than the queen of tutorials in in the way users utilize mobile a reflection of your voice and innovative methods in video
the UAE, Huda Kattan, for an apps. Whether it’s music, those within your business. creation such as 360, VR,
exemplary showcase of how games or entertainment, The adage, ‘people buy from interactive video.
you can turn how-to’s into a people are spending more time people,’ still rings true, and
multimillion dollar business. consuming content on apps, nothing is more effective than 10. Key marketing prin-
driving superior engagement watching real people with real ciples remain in place
5. Optimize your video and value for businesses. Get stories. Develop a content Finally, video marketing is
for search the best of both worlds by library that helps clients still marketing- the princi-
Don’t let your hard work go to utilizing video to allow your understand your business, ples remain the same. Create
waste. You can make the most audience to get a glimpse of how you operate, what you great ideas, which will make
out of your video marketing what your app is about. believe in, and meets the people either like, comment or
campaign by optimizing people that make up your share– if they don’t, then they
your content for search. Just 7. Experiment with new team. won’t be successful. Start with
like plain text, video can be technology listening, understanding, plan-
optimized for search engines. 360-degree video and 9. Budget ning; develop a list of what
In fact, search engines favor shooting in 4K might sound Remember to budget properly. you want to say, decide how
video content over written scary, but there are plenty Just because it’s online doesn’t best to say it (what format
content. The best way to of really fantastic agencies mean it’s cheaper, or that you you can produce and whether
impact your search ranking (like ours) that can create can get away with a bad job the story makes sense in that
using video marketing is to use this type of video content under UGC. On the contrary, format) and finally develop a
transcriptions. You can unlock for you, if you feel your story strategy of how you intend on
content in videos by making warrants the investment. For According to IPSOS MENA’s getting it out there, then ask
2015 Digital Audiences in MENA
it available to search engines some inspiration from the report, video features in the your communications team
using indexing and including masters of video storytelling, top four activities in KSA and or PR agency to support you.
transcriptions in the HTML I would strongly recommend UAE on desktop and mobile. They’re the masters at story-
of the pages where the videos you take a look at Red Bull’s YouTube clocked in the top telling regardless of platform,
three favorite websites to use
are on. A well-optimized Kaleidoscope. It is literally the on either your phone or at home
and can probably help you and
video will get people into your best piece of film work I have to consume video content in your business get started on
channel and deliver traffic. seen in over five years. both markets. this front.

Ema Linaker is the Director of Digital Middle East at Edelman. She is a digital native who has been working integrated communications for leading brands
and agencies for over 20 years. She has worked at Google, Nuance, Ogilvy & Mather, and prior to her current role at Edelman, she used to head up Leo
Burnett’s team of social, mobile and digital experts, working on multinational brands like McDonalds, Samsung and P&G.

february 2016 Entrepreneur 43


Attracting offline shoppers to your 1. BUILD YOUR ONLINE

Big box retailers have worked
e-commerce startup By Haneen Dabain
for years to establish a
brand that is well trusted
by consumers. While online

hile e-commerce startups offer some advantages to shoppers with e-commerce companies
cheaper prices, product variety and the convenience of shopping from probably have also done
home, it can arguably lag behind established offline stores and big box the same, the chances are
that online shoppers will
retailers in branding, personalized assistance and customer service, not recognize the names of
the ability to instantly get the product that was bought, and a showroom that most of the online stores for
enables the shopper to try out the product before buying the same. However, a period of time until they
e-commerce startups can bridge these gaps and sharpen their value propositions actually try them out. While
by focusing on five key areas of online reputation, delivery and logistics, building trust takes time
and cannot be rushed, online
warranty and returns, customer service support and shopping experience. This
stores should focus from
article discusses the online shoppers’ “concerns” in each of these areas, the day one on building their
offline commerce advantage, and the practical ways e-commerce startups can online brand reputation
give themselves an edge and attract offline shoppers their way. through social media chan-
nels and providing excellent
customer service to build a
good reputation and generate
repeat purchases. Here are a
few things that you can start
doing today:

Start building your

brand reputation
online. Establish a social
media presence on Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest
and other platforms.
Customers need to be able
to easily get information
about your store and connect
with you when needed.

have a hotline available

for client queries and be
available through email,
online chat, and other
support channels. Always be
available- if you are easily
accessible, then you become
almost like a physical store.

44 Entrepreneur february 2016

Diligently reply to public 2. ENHANCE LOGISTICS disappointed
social media inquiries, be AND DELIVERY customer to
it on your Facebook page, Brick and mortar stores try you again
Google reviews, or on have instant gratification once they find
Twitter- this shows you advantage, as you buy the out that there
are active on social media product and leave the store is a 50-50
and cater to your customer with it. For online shop- chance the
support requests. Encourage ping, buyers are concerned item they want
your customers to write whether the item will be is actually in
reviews for your store on delivered on time, and they stock.
marketplaces and Google hate having to wait for long
reviews. periods of time. They also Make fast
expect to be updated and delivery
Show a physical assured throughout the options available. Even not within a separate FAQ
address for your delivery process. Online if this means extra fees, it page. This also increases
company clearly on stores can address this by gives shoppers an option to conversions, especially if the
the site. Have a physical optimizing the logistics have their orders delivered warranty or return terms are
address and contact details and delivery component of faster, and also helps your generous.
of the company clearly their business. While this is store attract them away from
mentioned on the website. easier said than done, there physical stores. You can offer Avoid unnecessary
This way, customers can are some areas you can start two delivery options with delays in the return,
rest assured that you are with today that do not re- different charges, and leave repair or refund
a licensed company with a quire a sophisticated supply the choice to the buyer. process. With physical
local presence. chain setup: stores, customers can visit
3. OFFER CLEAR them anytime to return a
List your store with Keep your customers WARRANTY AND RETURN product. For online stores
other established updated about their POLICIES to match that service, you’d
online marketplaces. orders. Always provide One of the major concerns of need to be fast in handling
This helps you in getting updates about the order online shoppers is whether returns, otherwise the
store reviews and building status. If a customer makes they can return the product customer will always prefer
your reputation, while still an order and they don’t in case they changed their to shop offline.
building your online brand hear from you, they will mind, or have it fixed quick-
through your own website. keep wondering whether the ly in case there was an issue Shoppers should be easily
order was received or not. with it. Offline stores some- able to browse through
Offer cash on delivery Tracking doesn’t have to times differentiate their your site and complete
(COD). Many people argue be sophisticated. An email offerings by giving extended purchases on their smart-
whether COD is serving or that confirms receiving the warranties and generous phones. The design should
actually hurting e-commerce order, having the product in return policies to attract fit their phone screen, and
in MENA. The reality is stock, and out for delivery buyers. Online stores need navigation elements and
that e-commerce is still is enough to ease your to adopt a similar approach buttons should be of the
nascent in this region, and customer’s mind. to bridge this particular gap. adequate size.
there are still many areas While this comes at a cost,
of improvement in getting Make it easy for customers there are some key guide- 4. Provide excellent
the right product on time to contact you. Implement lines your startup should customer support
to the customer. For this an online chat system implement that can have Most offline stores try to
reason, shoppers prefer COD where shoppers can get almost no additional costs: differentiate themselves
as it’s a safer option and answers for any questions over online by offering
provides an easier way to regarding a product or Provide clear and easy personalized assistance and
cancel the order in case it is your store policies. to read policies. Avoid better customer support. If
delayed by the store, or the saying “this is handled on you buy from the mall and
product turned out to be out Focus on proper stock a case by case basis.” Have you face any issue with your
of stock, without worrying management. Always a clear policy and commit product, you can drive there
about the refunds process. update your stock properly to it. If warranty varies per and discuss the problem
Give your customers some to avoid unfulfilled orders. product, highlight it clearly face-to-face with the cus-
time to build trust and In a physical store, the on the product page. As a tomer support staff. Online
offer them their preferred product is right there and best practice, key warranty stores cannot offer that level
payment method. Once trust it’s available, and this and return information of personal support. For this
is built, customers won’t should be the same case should be clearly highlighted reason, shoppers might be
have an issue with online for online retailers as on the product page next wary about buying online-
payments. well. It will be hard for a to the buy button, and they don’t want to have to >>>

february 2016 Entrepreneur 45


call and follow up if they ized service, there are a few

face any issue. To bridge guidelines that can help in
this gap, you can start with: bridging the gap:

Be diligent in answering Opt for a modern and

customer service attractive design. Avoid
requests. Have a hotline the 1995 web 1.0 look and
available for client queries feel! More importantly,
and be available through the site should be fast
email, online chat, and other enough to provide a smooth
support channels. Always be experience.
available- if you are easily
accessible, then you become Optimize your site for
almost like a physical store. mobile. Shoppers should
If customers cannot call be easily able to browse
you, or have to wait to get through your site and
in touch with you for a long complete purchases on their Xiaomi smartphones launch
time, then you might lose smartphones. The design
their trust, which does not should fit their phone
in Dubai
bode well for repeat visits. screen, and navigation Task FZCO, the official mote control technology. All
elements and buttons distributor of Xiaomi in the of the smartphones are 4G,
e-commerce is still nascent in should be of the adequate MENA region, has launched and come nicely equipped
this region, and there are still size. four new smartphones. In with dual SIM-card support.
many areas of improvement in the UAE, the company has The hardware features lead-
getting the right product on Showcase all the partnered exclusively with ing edge components from
time to the customer. For this
reason, shoppers prefer COD
requisite information. Etisalat to bring Xiaomi’s mainstay suppliers including
as it’s a safer option and pro- Provide full product devices to the market. At a Qualcomm, Mediatek, Sharp,
vides an easier way to cancel specifications, high quality launch event in Dubai, the Sony, Samsung, JDI, Pa-
the order in case it is delayed pictures and product Redmi 2 Pro, Redmi Note nasonic, and Toshiba. Task
by the store. reviews to give shoppers 2, Mi4i, and Mi Note were FZCO is set to launch Xiaomi
as much information as introduced by the brand. The devices in Saudi Arabia next
Train your customer possible about the product lineup includes trendy fea- with rollout across the re-
service staff on how to and thus help them decide tures like proprietary selfie gion in the coming months.
handle every scenario. if this is the exact product software, and infrared re- -By Tamara Clarke
Avoid saying, “We’ll call they are looking for.
you back.” Try to address
the issue on the spot. In Make it easy for Xiaomi Redmi
exceptional cases where you customers to contact 2 Pro
need to check on something, you. Implement an
do call the customer back online chat system where
on time. Nothing upsets shoppers can get answers
the customer and ruins for any questions regarding
the trust more than not a product or your store
receiving the call back! policies.

5. Optimize your site Finally, remember to always

for a great shopping think from a customer
experience perspective, and address
Brick and mortar stores give all of their concerns. Stiff
shoppers the ability to ex- competition leaves no room
perience the product, learn for a sub-par customer
about it from the customer experience. Addressing the
service staff and get per- above areas will enable
sonal assistance in choosing your e-commerce startup
the right product from a to address the gaps and ef-
large variety of offerings. fectively compete with the
While online stores cannot offline stores- bridge those Xiaomi Redmi Note
offer this level of personal- gaps, and they will come!

Haneen Dabain is the founder of, the leading price comparison website in the Middle East. In two years, Pricena has grown to serve one
million monthly visits, comparing prices of more than one million products from 150 online stores in UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. In 2015,
Pricena was awarded the accolade of Online Startup of the Year at Entrepreneur Middle East’s Enterprise Agility Awards. Prior to launching Pricena,
Dabain worked in web development and management of digital projects.

46 Entrepreneur february 2016



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business unusual | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS

“So is this social media thing

like a real job now?!?”
Ten things not to say to digital professionals
By Shyaire Ganglani

hether you’re check. Contract- check.
seated across the Salary- check. Yup, seems
table from a client, like a real job to me.
a colleague in a different
department, or even family 4. “I could do social media. I
and friends, the inevitable spend two hours a night on
perception of having a Facebook and 9gag.”
career in digi is that you’re I dare you to try dealing
automatically their very with trolls for a day. Then
own personal Facebook come up with a response
guru. You’re also the go-to protocol and crisis strategy.
person in the group for every Get it approved. Implement
Instagram/Snapchat related it. Go on. I dare you. Heck,
concern. When corporate let’s just take a quick gander
talk is being tossed around at Facebook’s Power Editor
the table, you’re looked at dashboard.
strangely for contributing 8. “What do you mean you you, Mr. Landscaper, build
your opinion because you 5. “So you’re into social media, haven’t seen [insert YouTube my entertainment room, set
“sit on Facebook all day and right?” viral video name here]? Don’t up my garden, dig the pool
call it a job.” So, on behalf of Please don’t ask me to do you sit on the Internet all day and in return, I’ll buy you a
social media professionals something for you or end for a living?” drink. Deal?
everywhere, I’d like to share this short exchange with, Let me do all social media
a few truths. Here are the “Could I pick your brain for professionals a favor and 10. “How can I make it go viral?”
top 10 things that we hear a few minutes?” explain this once and for Unless you’re talking
often (and that you should all: we’re usually logged about the stomach bug or
never say): 6. “Your job must be so much into a Facebook account flu, please don’t use that
fun. I actually have to work linked to our company/ sentence. What makes
1. “So do you get paid to sit on all day.” client or Facebook Business content go viral is a unique
Facebook all day?” I wasn’t aware that Manager. Same for Twitter connect with the audience.
Just no. Why? Do engineers developing proposals, and ditto for Instagram. So make sure your idea is
get paid to play arts and strategies, client servicing, So when we haven’t heard relevant to their interests,
crafts? Do surgeons get paid team-building, and of the new PSY video or is spontaneous and well-
to play Operation? Do not more doesn’t qualify as what 5/7 ratings mean, it crafted, and even a little
belittle somebody’s job. actual work. Enlighten shouldn’t come as that much bold. If all else fails- put a
me, corporate Zeus of of a surprise. Contrary to kitten in it and boom! Viral.
2. “How do I get more all universes. What does popular opinion, we do not
followers on my personal “working” entail? scroll through our personal
Instagram?” newsfeeds all day long we’re usually logged
This may come as a surprise 7. “How do you not have the LOL-ing and commenting on into a Facebook account
to you, but major global new Snapchat [or any other statuses and current events. linked to our company/cli-
brands don’t pay us to get currently trending platform] Also, we don’t care which ent or Facebook Business
their CEOs more followers update? Don’t you work in way dogs should wear pants. Manager. Same for Twitter
on pictures of their kids and social media?” and same for Instagram.
cat memes. Yes. And when you work 9. “Could you give me a social So when we haven’t heard
in auditing, do you have media strategy for my business of the new PSY video or
3. “So is this social media thing every update and app that this week?” what 5/7 ratings mean, it
like a real job now?” functions like Excel? No? “I’ll buy you lunch, in shouldn’t come as that
Let’s see. Line manager- That’s treachery! return.” Okay, cool! And much of a surprise.

Shyaire Ganglani is a true digital native in the field of consultancy with a keen interest in all things technology-related. Fascinated with the
power of digital and social marketing, she is currently a Social Strategist at Social@Ogilvy. Having previously worked with recognized brands to
connect with their target audiences via community management, creative copy writing, campaign management, and visualizing key social and
mobile apps, Ganglani now works with key government clients in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and global technology clients to create brand strategies
and adventures.

february 2016 Entrepreneur 49


The 2016 International

Consumer Electronics Show
(CES 2016) is a gathering
place for innovators, the
who’s who of tech, and
(sometimes) breakthrough
developments. It’s also
the stage where next-gen
consumer products are
introduced. Check out our
roundup of some of the
more attention-grabbing
CES 2016 AVIATION Up, up and away advancements introduced at
this year’s show.
The world’s first electric, personal made possible by EHang’s 24/7, EHang 184
Net Weight 200 KG
Autonomous Aerial Vehicle real-time flight command center,
Average speed 100km/h
(AAV) was introduced at CES passengers don’t need a pilot’s Load capacity 100 KG
2016. Now, enough with the license– they simply sit back and Charging time 2 to 4 hrs
tech-speak. Ehang 184, a manned let the drone take over from there. Cruise time 23 min

drone capable of automatically It can fly for about 23 minutes

carrying a passenger through on a full charge at speeds of up
the air, simply by entering a to 62mp. The EHang 184, which
destination into its accompanying was named for one passenger,
smartphone app now exists. eight propellers, and four arms,
Do I have your attention? With is the next wave of innovation in
fully automated navigation, transportation.

EHang 184,
Aerial Vehicle

images courtesy: EHang, BMW, Speck, Samsung, HTC

50 Entrepreneur february 2016

CES 2016 Smart Home
The hub spot

Samsung Electronics
introduced a brand new
refrigeration category. The
Family Hub Refrigerator
reconnects families, provides
entertainment, organizes
groceries and home tasks
BMW head-up display with a digital kick. It does it all CES 2016 Virtual Reality
from a 21.5 inch full HD LCD The world as you know it
CES 2016 Automotive Get a head start screen located on the upper
right exterior door. The screen HTC introduced Vive Pre with a
Luxury carmaker, BMW, fuel level, travel speed and allows you to post, share and fresh design and new features. It’s
displayed a concept helmet selected gear, speed limit update calendars, pin photos improved visual system has brighter
with head-up display for and road sign recognition, and leave notes– all with the displays and an even deeper
motorcyclists. The intent is plus warnings of impending ease and convenience of your sense of presence. Regarding the
to give riders a safer way to dangers. The helmet, fitted smartphone. Outfitted with hardware, interchangeable foam
access information while on with an integrated mini- three high quality cameras inserts and nose gaskets make
the road. The BMW head-up computer and loudspeakers, inside which capture an the Vive Pre fit comfortably and
display projects traffic or is controlled from the image every time the door securely, and it’s easily adjusted to
vehicle information directly left-hand handlebar fittings closes, you can keep tabs on suit a variety of facial shapes and
into the rider’s field of view, using the BMW Motorrad consumption and even peek can even accommodate eyeglasses.
allowing you to keep your multicontroller. And, there’s inside your fridge remotely The newly-developed front facing
eye on traffic. All displays more to come: BMW plans to using your mobile device. Even camera allows you to do more both
are programmable and show give purpose to the cameras if you’re already at the store inside and outside your virtual world
safety-related information in the helmet by allowing the and forget to check on what by blending physical elements into
like tire pressure, oil level and rider to record journeys with you need, you can pull up the the virtual space. Being able to take
the forward-facing camera or Samsung Smart Home app a seat, find your drink, and carry
use the rear-facing camera and have a look right into your on conversations without removing
as a digital rear-view mirror. Family Hub fridge. How’s that your headset is only the beginning
According to BMW, the for making the grocery list of what’s possible with Vive Pre.
Motorrad helmet is an early obsolete! Completing the VR experience,
initiative to improve road the Vive’s controllers have been
Samsung Family Hub
safety for motorcycle riders. Refrigirator overhauled and enhanced with
It only gets better! softer edges, greater balance, new
textured buttons, and grip pads
for a more comfortable feel in the
CES 2016 Mobile Pick pocket hand. The new dual stage trigger
also makes interaction with objects
Speck unveiled a pocket- reality. When closed, retract- smoother, and haptic feedback
friendly virtual reality viewer able side panels fold into a delivers vital information about your
designed to give you a quick perfectly flat, self-contained interactions with the virtual world.
and easy VR experience. The package that shields lenses For power, the controllers now fea-
compact headset is a Google from dust and scratches, and ture integrated rechargeable lithium
Cardboard-certified viewer slides easily into a pocket polymer batteries with micro-USB
that works with Speck’s or purse for on-the-go ac- charging that provides over four
CandyShell Grip smartphone cessibility. Pocket VR with hours of runtime on a single charge.
case to provide a rich viewing CandyShell Grip will be With Vive Pre, HTC’s second gen-
experience for 3D content, available for iPhone 6s/6 and eration VR system for developers,
virtual and augmented Galaxy S6. the human imagination is bound-
less; create your virtual world.
Pocket VR

#TAMTALKSTECH Tamara Clarke, a former software

development professional, is the tech and lifestyle enthusiast
behind The Global Gazette, one of the most active blogs in the
Middle East. The Global Gazette has been welcomed and lauded
by some of the most influential tech brands in the region.
Clarke’s goal is to inform about technology and how it supports
our lifestyles. See her work both in print regional publications and online on her
blog where she discusses everything from how a new gadget improves day-to-day
life to how to coordinate your smartphone accessories.
Visit and talk to her on Twitter @GlobalGazette.

february 2016 Entrepreneur 51


The power of why

Failing to achieve our inten-
tions happens because of two
basic elements. The first is
not knowing your why- your
purpose within your life
mission. Before I work with
clients to set their goals, we
refocus and strengthen their
deeper purpose and reason
for being alive. Once that is
established and clear, we can
build representative goals
that create a framework to
harness the right culture
to organically grow in line
with our life’s purpose and
mission. Too often, we set
goals we would like to parade
around like a badge of honor
but, fundamentally, they are
not what we are really all
about. Sometimes, we set
goals to appeal to or satisfy
others like parents or spous-
es or even our colleagues.
While there is something
honorable about wanting to
appear as a success to others,
until we have an internal
success that resonates with
our own core values and
desires we will always feel
shortchanged— even when a
goal is reached.
A great way to help find
your why is to embrace the
success formula used by the
Napoleon Hill Foundation:
Passion + Talent + Action +
Association = Success.
Write down your passion,
write down your talents,
Build an accountability structure write down the actions you
need to take in order to be
for achievement a success, write down who
you want to run with (i.e.
Action paired with intention can make who you want to work with),
this your year By Mark Sephton and let this simple and ef-
fective formula inspire you

and provide great personal
s we enter the first leg of 2016, many of us, with our goals and revelations.
intentions in mind and on paper, take to the battlefield to cre- Success requires
ate a life of purpose, growth, and intention. We all start with sacrifice
The second reason we often
great intentions caught up in the euphoria of a new year. Each of us fail to achieve our intentions
know many men and women who start well but don’t finish strong. is passion and motivation
starts to fade with time and
Life throws us curveballs and challenges, motivation fades and, before people begin to second guess
long, well-intended goals and desires begin to fade into the distance. their desires, as well as their

52 Entrepreneur february 2016

ability to maintain high Saying yes to such opportu- kick on this year, we need to Be confident When we are
levels of focus and effort nities creates the necessary be intentional and commit- confident in our own ability,
on the desired goal. People shifts to realize a life full of ted to the duties and actions it gives us the upright pos-
forget that success requires energy and purpose. that lie before us. That being ture we need to stop hiding
sacrifice; it is difficult and One of the personal revela- said, just don’t let life get too and keep working toward
challenging. 80% of success tions I had in 2015 was that serious that you fail to mix it what we believe is true and
comes from religiously doing I must judge myself not up with some humor. instinctive.
something over and over merely on my intentions, By focusing on the why
again— it’s often dull and but also on my actions. We Give ourselves permission power, understanding that
requires repetition and sac- all need to take responsi- Sometimes we just need to success requires sacrifice
rifice. People forget this, so bility for more than our give ourselves permission and managing your energy
when life stops feeling so ex- intentions. We all have good to make mistakes, to get it and not your time, you’ll be
citing, they stop doing what intentions, but sometimes wrong, to forgive ourselves. taking some first steps to
they have been doing and people don’t see them Stop making excuses for why a positive and productive
switch directions because because they remain locked it didn’t work and move on. 2016.
people innately are fueled within our own hearts and
by emotions and doing what minds. Conversely, actions
feels good. often are visible, and action
In my book Inside Job I speaks to purpose and belief. FOUR WAYS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND HOLD
talk about how we need to If we want 2016 to be a year YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE FOR SUCCESS
become people who don’t of growth and, more impor-
just act off positive emo- tantly, one of true purpose, TRACK YOUR PROGRESS ourselves up to knowledge and
tion— sometimes we just we must own our actions We must continue to reflect revelations. The challenge then
have to buckle down and act every day. One of the key on our commitments and is to apply that knowledge into
first, and then the positive differences between suc- performance towards the task our life and business. Each
emotions and excitement cess and failure is simply in hand. We must document year, I set aside a budget of
come to the fore. our level of action. Success and journal our personal com- money to invest in my self-
requires action. mitment towards a project development. I may use this
We must stop making or relationship. Periodically I budget to purchase books,
excuses for our lack of follow track what I spend within a audio podcasts, seminars, and
through. We must measure week. When you track what attend events that are in line
our life and year based on you spend or what you eat, with my growth objectives. I
our actions related to our you start to become conscious am committed to invest in me;
core values. It may sound and accountable. Using the the greatest investment you
simple enough, but it can premise of tracking and meas- will ever make is in yourself.
be difficult to get started. uring your progress helps you When we focus on our own
So, how can we stop making become conscious of the steps personal growth we will natu-
excuses and start taking you make; that’s a big part of rally achieve the goals we set.
action? taking responsibility.
we fully embrace who we When we focus on what we If you haven’t got a success
are and what we are about, have it creates an abundance buddy, someone you can
regardless of the good, bad mindset. When we practice check in with once each week,
or ugly, we are confident in gratitude, we put our minds in I encourage you to make
Manage your energy and our authentic self and do the best position of achiev- finding that partner a priority.
not your time what is right regardless of ing success. When we are so Every Friday, I meet with my
In order to take action and the opinion of others. grateful we are in a positive success buddy for one hour
be successful, we must know frame of mind which im- and we discuss our wins,
our why. We must set goals Get focused When we are pacts on present and future losses, and challenges that oc-
in accordance to our own life fully present in thought and endeavors. curred over the week. It builds
purpose and mission. We do deed, it leads to ownership the accountability that we all
this by managing our energy of not just our thoughts but DEVELOP A PERSONAL need to help us take respon-
and not our time. We must actions too. GROWTH PLAN sibility for our success, and
say yes to the opportunities We must be men and women helps to cast away the habit
book cover: Inside Job by Mark Sephton

that play to our strengths, Get serious We all need to who educate ourselves. We of making excuses we can so
passions and life purpose. be mindful that if we want to educate ourselves by opening easily fall into.

Mark Sephton is an international personal mentor to entrepreneurs, basing his program on a GPS system with eight key fundamentals. This system
reveals blind spots, efficiencies and deficiencies, and is used to find your “inner sniper” to improve your instinct, producing devastating results in
your own revolution of discovery. It is hard to see the picture when you’re in the frame. Changing the way you think through culture and mindset
shifts and being introduced to game-changing habits helps increase your productivity and skyrocket your personal brand.

february 2016 Entrepreneur 53

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business unusual | LIFE | TRAVEL | DESIGN | TRAPPINGS
Still image from the

Take a breather at
Oscar-nominated Arab
movie Theeb

the office

reathing is a for a few moments, allow-
great way to ing your mind and body
prep yourself for to settle.
a big meeting or
calm down after 2. Rest your left hand on
a particularly stressful your lap or knee. Make a
situation. Entrepreneur peace sign with your right
and yoga instructor hand. Fold the two ex-
Danielle Abisaab says tended fingers toward the
that practicing alternate palm or rest them lightly
nostril breathing is an on the bridge of your
easy way to get a clear nose. Place your thumb
head in the midst of a gently onto your right
hectic day. “Our nose nostril. Place your ring
is directly linked to our and little fingers gently
brain and nervous system. onto your left nostril.
Breathing in through the
left nostril awakens and
energizes the right ‘feel-
ing’ hemisphere of the
brain, and breathing in
through the right nostril
awakens and energizes

Straight outta MENA the left ‘thinking’ hemi-

sphere of the brain. When
we consciously alternate
Oscar nominated Arab film Theeb our breath between either
could make history nostril, we are actually Alternate nostril breathing

activating and equalizing
he Middle East’s Center, British-Jordanian both opposing energies 3. Close your eyes and be-
cinema community director Naji Abu Nowar re- throughout the whole gin by softly closing your
is celebrating one of vealed that he was a fan of the brain.” right nostril (using your
its own- Theeb, a Western genre, and much like UnionSquareYoga right thumb) and inhale
Jordanian film about how acclaimed filmmaker Akira @Yoga_Holic slowly, deeply, smoothly,
a young Bedouin boy set in Kurosawa adapted it to Japanese gently and without strain
the World War I era, has been culture, Abu Nowar wanted to CALM DOWN IN SIX through your left nostril.
nominated for a 2016 Academy do the same for Bedouin culture EASY STEPS
Award in the Foreign Lan- with Theeb. 1. Sit in any comfortable 4. Close your left nostril
guage Film category. The film, Having traversed the film seated position. Relax the (using your ring and little
which has been privy to praise festival circuit since its world body and breath naturally fingers) and release clo-
from Jordanian royals like Her premiere at Venice Film Festival sure of your right. Exhale
Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdul- 2014 (where Abu Nowar won the through your right nostril.
lah and HRH Prince Ali bin Al Best Director award), the movie Inhale through your right
Hussein, was backed by SANAD, has also been nominated for the nostril.
twofour54’s development and British Academy Film Awards
post production fund, and Doha for the Best Film Not in the Eng- 5. Close your right nostril
Film Institute, and was also sup- lish Language, and Outstanding and release closure of
ported by the Switzerland-based Debut by a British Writer, Direc- your left. Exhale through
visions sud est. tor or Producer categories. Com- your left nostril. This
Theeb features non-profes- peting against Colombia’s Em- completes one round.
sional actors from the Bedouin brace of the Serpent , France’s Continue the pattern for
Theeb movie still image credit twofour54

community as its central cast, Mustang, Hungary’s Son of Saul as many rounds of breath
and has been described as a and Denmark’s A War, if Theeb as you wish.
coming-of-age film set against wins at this year’s Oscars, it
the backdrop of the Ottoman will be the first Arab film to be 6. When you’re finished:
empire in 1916. In an interview awarded an Academy Award. relax both arms, sit and
with the Film Society of Lincoln Fingers crossed, everyone! breathe naturally for a few
Beirut-based yoga instructor and moments before opening
entrepreneur Danielle Abisaab your eyes.

february 2016 Entrepreneur 55


Indoor Pool
Four Seasons Amman


Executive Suite

Amman -or any country or exceptional in design and

city for that matter- should location and service, but the
not have to worry about wildlife is just spectacular:
anything or be afraid of the […] snorkel with manta rays,
destination, and by staying at dive with turtles! What else
Four Seasons Hotel Amman do you need to think you
we take these worries out are in heaven?” And from

Get settled in
of travel,” says Hoogewijs, his career that has crossed
listing the countless perks continents, Hoogewijs says

that the 15-storey property that one salient lesson stands
offers guests and noting that out: “I have learned over the
the 192 rooms have a “resi- years that it doesn’t matter
The Four Seasons Amman prides itself on dential” feel that helps guests where you are, everyone
genuine hospitality to get settled easily. “This wants to be treated with
appointment to [our] Amman respect. Compared to our

“ e are primarily a
business hotel so
most of our efforts
and I’m excited to be leading
the effort. By introducing
so many new and unique
property was doubly satisfy-
ing for the opportunity it
gives me to finally experience
properties in Asia or the
Middle East, we are of course
very different, but as with all
in our strategy is things to the experience, we Jordanian culture. I have no Four Seasons properties we
targeted towards are showing guests and the worries about relating to the pride ourselves in offering
the business client,” explains Jordanian community that community or the hotel staff, genuine hospitality!”
Vincent Hoogewijs adding we are committed to moving which is 98% Jordanian.”
that 70% of the Four Seasons forward with the times.” As a global hospitality
Amman’s guest roster are Hoogewijs, who has served expert (he first joined the
visiting the Kingdom for at the executive level in company in 2004 as the
work. The General Manager more than a dozen countries Hotel Manager of the Four
of the hotel also serves in a including Australia, Morocco, Seasons Hotel Bangkok)
dual capacity as the brand’s and Mexico, says that the which Four Seasons does he
Regional Vice President, and executive guest prizes “unob- find a must-see destination?
is currently overseeing the trusive” and efficient service “I had the opportunity to stay
full top-to-bottom renovation above all things, followed by at both of our properties in
of the prestige property- no constant connectivity and a the Maldives and this trip
mean feat. “We want to bevy of available amenities. will remain in my memory for Four Seasons Amman General Manager and
evolve our brand in Amman, “Executives travelling to ever. Not only are both resorts Regional Vice President Vincent Hoogewijs

56 Entrepreneur february 2016

floors, the incredibly spacious “Our Grand Ballroom -which is
suites with views of the city are 11,840 sq. ft.- can easily accom-
perfect for entertaining, ideal for modate large-scale conferences
business and incomparable for and events. Holding up to 1,200
longer stays. Our two-bedroom people, the Grand Ballroom is not
luxury suites can be configured only soundproof, but it is divisible
as three-bedroom suites with the into smaller ballrooms/sections:
addition of a connecting room Salon A, Salon B and Salon C as
for business travelers who would well as the pre-function area and
like to bring their families along. the Grand Terrace. To ensure a
Standard Wi-Fi is complimen- seamless meeting, we provide Executive Suite
tary throughout the hotel, and equipment like plasma screens, Lounge

in all rooms and suites. The Four CCTV linkups, and intelligent light-
Seasons Executive Suite and the ing systems.” ences, we are renovating our first while discovering Jordan. We are a
Deluxe Four Seasons Executive floor to result in the launch of a city destination, with some great
Suite both include an executive MUNCH “I have a lot of favorite new concept restaurant/bar that resort and spa facilities so that
desk while the two-bedroom Royal dishes at our hotel restaurants, will reposition the hotel in the Am- your stay for business can also be
Suite has a dining room that ac- but if I had to pick just one I’d say man market. This French-inspired enjoyed with the excellent leisure
commodates 12 people.” our Levant cuisine restaurant Olea brasserie will be the ‘place to be’ facilities. The highlight of the hotel
is truly special. At Olea, you can for all city guests with its fresh, is our intimately scaled spa, where
experience home-style Levant cui- elegant and approachable atmo- guests can discover the relaxing,
Five Grill
sine in an atmosphere that reflects sphere. We will also be launching restorative benefits of Dead Sea
the renowned hospitality and an exclusive whisky and cigar bar mud treatments and salt scrubs
generosity of the Eastern Mediter- that will be a very unique and luxu- or enjoy the healing benefits of
ranean region. If I had to pick one rious experience for guests.” Balinese and Thai massages.
dish, I’d have to pick the Kebbeh Working out at the Fitness Center
Neyyeh, which is raw minced lamb DOWNTIME “Four Seasons Hotel motivates guests with magnificent
with crushed wheat, onion, herbs Amman is unique: we are not city views, and then unwinding at
and that delicious garlic cream on only located in the capital city of the indoor and outdoor swimming
the side. Celebrating Amman’s Jordan, but also very central for all pools makes for a perfect end to a
most sought-after dining experi- other sightseeing you wish to do relaxing day.”

Five Grill
images courtesy Four Seasons Amman

The Club Lounge

february 2016 Entrepreneur 57


Rafael Nadal

‘Trep trimmings
The executive
rom better goods to boardroom
wardrobe bests, each issue we choose
a few items that make the approved
executive selection list. In this issue,
we present men’s better footwear by Corthay,
a timepiece made for the best of the best
(seriously), and our suggestions for scents and
skincare to add to your grooming routine.

Arvca Vernis

Good sportsmanship
Richard Mille is made for the boutique, having visited the luxury
best of the best brand’s Middle East outlet during
Rafael Nadal, global influencer, award the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2016. In
winning athlete, and dashing man partnership with Ali Bin Ali Watches
about town, was most recently seen in & Jewelry, the luxury mainstay’s
Qatar wearing nothing less than a rare newest outlet is located on The Pearl.
Richard Mille timepiece produced in Tennis champion Nadal will be put-
Hot stepper service that guarantees only 50 models. The RM 27-02 Tour- ting his eponymous fine showpiece to
Corthay creates discerning clients a billon Rafael Nadal, a feat of engineer- the stress test during his high impact
footwear that you 100% handcrafted design ing and industrial design, is shown matches. All in good time, my friend,
can take seriously over a 50-hour develop- here on Nadal during his visit to the all in good time.
There is almost noth- ment and creation phase newly launched Richard Mille Doha
ing better to get you on Rue Volney (situated
boardroom prepped than near the Place Vendôme). The RM 27-02
an expertly-made shoe. One interesting en-
Craftsmanship and fine trepreneurial factoid:
design by Corthay in a the French Ministry of
diverse range of inter- Culture bestowed the
esting hues and forms title of ‘Maitre d’Art’ on
ensures that you don’t founder Pierre Corthay,
have to give up your and he’s the only men’s
sense of individuality to shoemaker in history
find executive wardrobe- to receive the honor. A
appropriate footwear. In (literally) distinguished

addition to the Parisan French heritage brand for

shoemakers ready-to- your footwear? Mais oui,
Rafael Nadal and Adel Ali
wear selection, the House monsieur. Bin Ali at the Richard Mille
also offers a bespoke Doha Boutique

58 Entrepreneur february 2016

Take note For the select
Fragrances for your of your inner wrist of your few- Carolina
Herrera Men Privé
olfactory wardrobe lead hand, meaning if you’re
The fragrances you wear are left-handed then apply it on
indicative of your personal- the left inner wrist. Wear it for
ity- the investment you make a day, and if you’re still fond of
in purchasing the right scent it after a few hours, then you
is as important as any other. have a winner. Pro tip: avoid
Rather than trend-shopping spraying fragrance on your
(choosing the scent that a clothing- not only because it
colleague or friend is wear- can damage a good suit but
ing) opt for a fragrance that also because you’ll never see
actually works with your the real capability of the notes.
body chemistry. First, ask for Fine fragrances are meant to
the scent to be presented to be worn on the skin, and only
you on a blotter. If you find it then do they bloom properly.
pleasing, apply a small amount

All black everything- An evening affair-

Bvlgari Man In Black EDP YSL La Nuit De L’Homme

For the select

few- Carolina
Herrera Men Privé
The skin you’re in
Shiseido skincare
for men
You’ve already been on
and off so many flights this
year that you aren’t even
keeping count anymore.
If the constant travel is
really starting to take its
toll, combat a fatigued-face
with Shiseido for men! We
like Shiseido Men Cleans-
images © shiseido | Fragrance Images courtesy Paris Gallery

ing Foam for use both in

and out of the shower, fol-
lowed by the Shiseido Men
Active Energizing Concen-
trate applied in a thin, even
layer all over the face after
cleansing. For tired eyes, a
tiny amount of the Shiseido
Men Total Revitalizer Eye
applied clockwise on the
orbital bone should do the

february 2016 Entrepreneur 59


The Impact Bias

How to be happy when everything goes wrong
By James Clear

n the summer of 2010, Rachelle Friedman was top of the pool until her face emerged. It was immediately
preparing for one of the best periods of her life. obvious that something was wrong. “This isn’t a joke,”
She was recently engaged, surrounded by her she said. Her head had struck the bottom of the pool
best friends, and enjoying her bachelorette party. and shattered two vertebrae. In particular, the fracture
Friedman and her friends were spending the day at of her C6 vertebra severed her spinal cord and left her
the pool when one of them playfully pushed her into the permanently paralyzed from the chest down. She would
shallow end of the water. Friedman floated slowly to the never walk again.

60 Entrepreneur february 2016

“We are just so happy…” in a car accident and lose the their limbs and within one year things that stay the same.
One year later, Rachelle Fried- use of your legs. When asked to the two people were equally
man became Rachelle Chap- describe the impact of such an happy. 2. A challenge is an impedi-
man as she married her new event most people talk about It is important to note this ment to a particular thing,
husband. She decided to share how devastating it would be. particular study has not been not to you as a person. In
some of her own thoughts on Some people even say they replicated in the years since the words of Greek philosopher
the whole experience during an would rather be dead than it came out, but the general Epictetus, “Going lame is an
online question-and-answer never be able to walk again. trend has been supported again impediment to your leg, but not
session in 2013. She started by But what researchers find and again. We have a strong to your will.” We overestimate
discussing some of the chal- is that when people actually tendency to overestimate the how much negative events will
lenges you might expect. It was suffer a traumatic event like impact that extreme events harm our lives for precisely the
hard to find a job that could living through an earthquake will have on our lives. Extreme same reason that we overvalue
accommodate her physical dis- or becoming a paraplegic, their positive and extreme negative how much positive events will
abilities. It could be frustrating happiness levels are nearly events don’t actually influence help our lives. We focus on the
and uncomfortable to deal with identical six months after the our long-term levels of happi- thing that occurs (like losing a
the nerve pain. event as they were the day be- ness nearly as much as we think leg), but forget about all of the
But she also shared a variety fore the event. How can this be? they would. other experiences of life.
of surprisingly positive an- Researchers refer to this as Writing thank you notes
swers. For example, when asked THE IMPACT BIAS “The Impact Bias” because we to friends, watching football
if things changed for the worse Traumatic events tend to trig- tend to overestimate the length games on the weekend, read-
she said, “Well, things did ger what Gilbert refers to as or intensity of happiness that ing a good book, eating a tasty
change, but I can’t say in a bad our “psychological immune major events will create. The meal. These are all pieces of the
way at all.” Then, when asked systems.” Our psychological Impact Bias is one example of good life you can enjoy with or
about her relationship with her immune systems promote our affective forecasting, which is a without a leg. Mobility issues
husband she said, “I think we brain’s ability to deliver a posi- social psychology phenomenon represent but a small fraction
are just so happy because my tive outlook and happiness from that refers to our generally of the experiences available to
injury could have been worse.” an inescapable situation. This is terrible ability as humans to you. Negative events can create
How is it possible to be happy the opposite of what we would predict our future emotional task-specific challenges, but the
when everything in life seems expect when we imagine such states. human experience is broad and
to go wrong? As it turns out, an event. As Gilbert says, “Peo- varied.
Rachelle’s situation can reveal ple are not aware of the fact WHERE TO GO FROM HERE There is plenty of room for
a lot about how our brains re- that their defenses are more There are two primary takea- happiness in a life that may
spond to traumatic events and likely to be triggered by intense ways I have from “The Impact seem very foreign or undesira-
what actually makes us happy. rather than mild suffering. Bias.” ble to your current imagination.
Thus, they mis-predict their For more on the fascinating
THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT own emotional reactions to mis- 1. We have a tendency to ways in which our brain creates
HAPPINESS fortunes of different sizes.” focus on the thing that happiness, read Dan Gilbert’s
There is a social psychologist This effect works in a similar changes and forget about book Stumbling on Happiness.
at Harvard University by the way for extremely positive the things that don’t change.
name of Dan Gilbert. Gilbert’s events. For example, consider When thinking about winning
bestselling book, Stumbling on how it would feel to win the the lottery, we imagine that
Happiness, discusses the many lottery. Many people assume event and all of the money that
ways in which we miscalculate that winning the lottery would it will bring in. But we forget
how situations will make us immediately deliver long- about the other 99% of life and
happy or sad, and reveals some lasting happiness, but research how it will remain more or less
counterintuitive insights about has found the opposite. In a the same.
what actually does make us very famous study published We’ll still feel grumpy if we
happy. by researchers at Northwest- don’t get enough sleep. We still
One of the primary discoveries ern University in 1978, it was have to wait in rush hour traffic.
from researchers like Gilbert is discovered that the happiness We still have to workout if we
that extreme inescapable situ- levels of paraplegics and lottery want to stay in shape. We still
ations often trigger a response winners were essentially the have to send in our taxes each
from our brain that increases same within a year after the year. It will still hurt when we
positivity and happiness. For event occurred. You read that lose a loved one. It will still feel
example, imagine your house correctly. One person won a nice to relax on the porch and
is destroyed in an earthquake life-changing sum of money and watch the sunset. We imagine
Stumbling on Happiness

or you suffer a serious injury another person lost the use of the change, but we forget the

James Clear writes at, where he uses behavior science to share ideas for mastering your habits, improving your
health, and increasing your creativity. To get useful ideas on improving your mental and physical performance, join his free newsletter To have James speak at your entrepreneurial event contact him

february 2016 Entrepreneur 61


The Esquire Guy on

the power of praise in business
(and how to do it right) By Ross McCammon

ere’s what the psychologists and co-author of bestselling manage-
think about praise: “Positive ment book The Carrot Principle- at
reinforcement works better Best Buy and many other businesses
than punishment.” the Harvard study looked at, simple
Here’s what the management recognition was the single most im-
experts think: “Employee recognition portant factor.
leads to profit.” “The number one driver of engage-
Here’s what the neurologists think: ment is opportunity and well-being,”
“Dopamine, which is released in the he says. “The number one driver of
brain any time we hear something we opportunity and well-being is recog-
like, is a powerful chemical.” nition and appreciation. The Harvard
Here’s what the psychologists, man- study showed that you don’t just
agement experts and neurologists want employees satisfied, you want
think when someone in a position of them engaged, because an engaged
power tells them they’re doing a great employee gives you their discretion-
job: “Hell, yeah!” (That, of course, is ary efforts.”
the dopamine talking.) For psychologists, the wisdom of
that investment is obvious. “Praising
It’s hard to come up with praise on people for what they do right seems
the fly. And the one being praised
knows that. If you take advantage to be more effective, regardless of
of a chance encounter -if the oppor- whether you think it’s nice or not,”
tunity to praise someone was never says Dr. Laura Carstensen, a profes-
even supposed to happen- then what sor of psychology at Stanford Univer-
you’re saying is perceived as authen-
sity whose work focuses on motiva-
tic. The moment is simply an outlet
for gratitude. tion. “People buy lottery tickets, and
mathematicians often say, ‘How can
How important is praise in business? you waste that money?’ Psycholo-
Extremely important. Research has gists have a slightly different view,
been done. Analytics, even. A 2010 and that is, if buying a ticket for a
study published in Harvard Busi- fairly small amount of money allows HOW TO GIVE IT
ness Review found that at electronics you to dream and to think you might Most management experts stress the
retailer Best Buy, a 0.1% increase get to savor the anticipation of what importance of specificity. “You want
in employee engagement drove that reward might look like, that’s to balance praise with construc-
US$100,000 in operating income to probably worth the money.” tive feedback,” says psychologist Dr.
the bottom line of each store per year. Praise is like that. It involves very Wayne Nemeroff, CEO and co-found-
Now, employee engagement involves little effort and produces a lot in er of PsyMax Solutions, a Cleveland-
lots of things, of course: personal return. It’s a no-brainer, even for based provider of “integrated human
fulfillment, career advancement and people who are otherwise ingrates. capital management tools.” Nemeroff
free coffee. But according to Chester So that’s why you should give suggests, “Recall a particular situa-
Elton -speaker, motivation expert praise. But how? tion and describe a specific behavior;


1. Praise should not begin with the email, face-to-face conversation, working,” “most glorious,” “awesomest,”
phrase “You da ….” handwritten note, bear hug. “best-smelling,” etc.
2. Ending an expression of praise with 5. No bear hugs. 9. Praise followed by criticism is not
“… and stuff” nullifies the praise. 6. A handwritten note is worth more than a praise.
3. Ending an expression of praise with $100 gift card. 10. Praise followed by praise is probably
“… now get back to work” also nullifies 7. But probably not more than a $200 gift a little too much praise.
the praise. card. 11. Praise followed by criticism followed
4. In ascending order of forcefulness: 8. Easy on the superlatives: “hardest- by praise is a sandwich.

62 Entrepreneur february 2016

Specificity is important, of course,
but it seems to us that everything
flows from sincerity. Sincerity will
automatically lead to praise- and,
most likely, impromptu praise.
Which is the best praise of all, be-
cause it’s automatically perceived as
sincere. It simply takes advantage of
a moment that is already happening:
an email that you’re sending anyway,
the beginning of a meeting that’s
happening anyway, a team-building
exercise. (“Bob, never has anyone
so elegantly held an orange with his
It’s hard to come up with praise on
the fly. And the one being praised
knows that. If you take advantage of
a chance encounter -if the oppor-
tunity to praise someone was never
even supposed to happen- then what
you’re saying is perceived as authen-
The principle of positive tic. The moment is simply an outlet you,” or something just as straight-
reinforcement states for gratitude. (Important note: never forward. Anything else can spoil
that behaviors that are use the phrase “outlet for gratitude” the moment. Praise should be as
rewarded are behaviors when praising someone, or at any discreetly received as it is concisely
that will be repeated. other time.) stated.
But this can be bad. If we The principle of positive reinforce-
keep repeating behaviors,
HOW TO RECEIVE IT ment states that behaviors that are
we lose sight of the most
important part of what Giving praise is the easy part. You rewarded are behaviors that will be
we do, which is innovate. just have to be aware of other peo- repeated. But this can be bad. If we
Praise should establish ple’s feelings and be in tune with keep repeating behaviors, we lose
a new bar. what’s going on in your business. sight of the most important part
Receiving praise is trickier- ulterior of what we do, which is innovate.
motives and all that. Praise should establish a new bar.
acknowledge the impact the behavior When it comes to receiving praise, We should accept the praise and
or action had on the group or the you want to subscribe to the gym- then try to forget about it. We
project or the action or on you.” nastics rule: throw out the highest should repeat the work that was
Here’s what Elton suggests in his and lowest scores. Never put too praised, but immediately move on to
book: do it now. The closer the much stock in someone telling you doing a better version of it.
recognition is to the behavior, the that you’re amazing, and never put
more likely it will be repeated. Do it too much stock in someone telling What praise ultimately does is hold
often. The more you message what’s you that you suck. Listen to the stuff up a mirror. It acknowledges what
important to you, the more people in between. (This also works with people already think about them-
will focus on that. And finally, be online hotel reviews.) selves: that they’re good at what
specific. And respond like this: “Thank they do. You’re making someone
happy and fulfilled and more excited
to work with you. And for almost no
effort at all.


Here’s what the management

_______, experts think: “Employee
recognition leads to profit.”
I couldn’t be more impressed with how you _______ the [hell/heck] out of _______.
Here’s what the neurologists
the carrot principle

think: “Dopamine, which is

Not only did you _______, but you _______. Beautiful.
released in the brain any time
we hear something we like, is a
powerful chemical.”
See this article in its entirety at

february 2016 Entrepreneur 63

money ask the money guy | vc viewpoint | your money | ECON

Is your
business going
to attract
THE funds you
Regional investors in entities both big
and small tell you what they look for when
evaluating your pitch

hen evaluating a pitch, here are what some of the MENA region’s
investors look for in your business model, and what might sway them
in your favor. Some of these investors look at early-stage and even
ideation, others in this list only consider large-scale models. At the
core of the matter is that a pitch is a pitch, and you’ll notice that these investors
all mention a few essential points… like how much drive and motivation you and
your co-founders have to make your business work. Does your enterprise have
what (and who) it takes to secure funds?

66 Entrepreneur february 2016

Omar J. Sati Omar J. Sati,
Director and
Director and co-founder of co-founder of
DASH Ventures
DASH Ventures
@ojsati @DASHVentures

hen evaluating a pitch,
investors have standard
guidelines for formulating an
investment decision. Beyond
the required basics, below are specific ele-
ments, unique to our investment philoso-
phy, that we particularly take note of.

1. FOCUS Laser-like focus, particularly

at the early stages, is critical and can
sometimes mean the difference between
survival and failure. In today’s distrac-
tion-filled world, it is very easy to lose
focus. This is easier said than done and
requires will power, mental strength, and
discipline. A lack of focus is a sign of a
weak strategy, uncertainty of where the
business is headed, and entrepreneurs
must learn to filter out noise that deviates
the company from its mission. The best
pitches paint a clear and vivid path to

“Because of our active, hands-on approach,

we cannot ignore the importance of
chemistry when evaluating an investment.
While we understand that it takes time
to build a relationship based on mutual
trust and transparency, the first meeting
or pitch can be very telling. We challenge
an entrepreneur’s assumptions, test
their hypotheses, and offer advice. How
they engage is a good indicator of the
likelihood of a productive and collaborative
relationship moving forward.”

2. REALISM Building a business hinges

on the successful execution of a grand
vision. We love bold ambitious plans, but
we also like simple and realistic. I keep
my eye out for how in touch with reality
entrepreneurs are. Are they aware of the or fragility that could be detrimental in telling. We challenge an entrepreneur’s
many challenges that lie ahead? Do they times of difficulty. assumptions, test their hypotheses, and
understand the assumptions behind their offer advice. How they engage is a good
numbers? Do they realize that building 4. BREAKTHROUGH We are looking for indicator of the likelihood of a productive
and growing a business is a marathon indications of a breakthrough. Some call it and collaborative relationship moving
and not a sprint? It is a fine balance of momentum, others use the term traction. forward.” >>>
optimism and realism. Whether by overcoming a challenge, prov-
ing the model works, achieving product- “Building a business hinges on the
3. WELL-ROUNDED TEAM Strong, com- market fit, or demonstrating a defensible successful execution of a grand vision.
plete, complementary founding teams. and sustainable competitive advantage. We love bold ambitious plans, but we
Weak and incomplete teams inevitably also like simple and realistic. I keep my
lead to failure. We specifically look for 5. CHEMISTRY Because of our active, eye out for how in touch with reality
entrepreneurs are. Are they aware of
complete teams where each member is hands-on approach, we cannot ignore the
the many challenges that lie ahead?
handpicked for a specific role, and has the importance of chemistry when evaluat- Do they understand the assumptions
skills and experience to make an impact. ing an investment. While we understand behind their numbers? Do they realize
Great teams are complementary in skill that it takes time to build a relationship that building and growing a business is
sets and reinforce each other’s strengths. based on mutual trust and transparency, a marathon and not a sprint? It is a fine
We look out for any signs of dysfunction the first meeting or pitch can be very balance of optimism and realism.”

february 2016 Entrepreneur 67

money ask the money guy | vc viewpoint | your money | ECON

Mehmet Atici, member of the founding

team at Earlybird Digital East Fund

Mehmet Atici
member of the founding team at Earlybird Digital East Fund | | @ms_atici @EarlyBirdVC

efore we invest, we’re crucial to show your progres- chunks of money to their solve, what value you provide
looking for startups sion and the results you got investors, that means every and how you make money.
that can demonstrate since you have started your opportunity they invest in Explaining your product at a
traction. Every smart inves- company. needs to be sizeable enough. basic level is sufficient and,
tor wants to see numbers and Third is team- includ- in fact, better; if it is inter-
Rather than long-term
will be driven by the momen- ing biographies in the deck esting enough the investor
financial projections, the
tum created by the founders. investor is more interested is a must to demonstrate will always dig deeper.
Although the satisfying level in 6-12-18-month plans which relevant work experience and Finally, we look at the raise
of traction may differ for are naturally more realistic education background. Every amount and use of proceeds.
different types of investors, and showing whether key large company built, without As an entrepreneur, you have
next steps or key hires are
the entrepreneur should be an exception, has amaz- to be sure about how much
already determined.”
able to complement his story ing people running them. money you want to raise
with convincing traction. Secondly, mostly referred as Scaling a small startup into and where you will spend it
At Earlybird, we seek to see the, ‘How big can this get?’ a sizeable business is quite on. Rather than long-term
product-market fit when question, opportunity size complex and requires high financial projections, the
developing our investment is one of the crucial fac- caliber, right skills besides investor is more interested in
thesis. Whereas a seed/angel tors. Targetable market size hard work. 6-12-18-month plans which
investor might be satisfied should be large enough for Fourth is value proposition, are naturally more realistic
by just seeing early results VC investors. In order for VC meaning that the investor and showing whether key
from a few number of happy mathematics to work, large has to be clear about what next steps or key hires are
customers. Either way, it is funds have to return huge you do, which problem you already determined.”

68 Entrepreneur february 2016

Samih Toukan

Sami Abou Saab Walid Tahabsem

CEO of Speed@BDD | | @samiabs @speedlebanon founder and CEO of ITG,
and co-founder and board

e always look for scale up worldwide. We in the ecosystem which have
member of Oasis500
a passionate team also look for realistic and conflicting interests.” | @wtahabsem
with the ability to achievable financial goals
execute, commitment, and in the first two to three

Sami Abou
expertise in the area of the
startup. For the technol-
years of operation. Some
red flags in startups that
Saab, CEO of “ he top five things I expect to see
in an investment pitch are:
ogy startups we invest in we see are: non-scalable
at Speed@BDD, we look business models, a business 1. Clarity I like to know that the
for at least one technical model that has to change in entrepreneur knows what he/she is
co-founder for the startup the future for it to remain talking about.
to totally own its plat- attractive to customers,
form and to develop it. We business models that have 2. Passion It is vitally important to
look for an idea that has very high customer acquisi- feel that the entrepreneur loves the
a sustainable and repeat- tion cost and that require a idea and is passionate about it.
able business model, and lot of initial investment for
for a scalable idea that goes proving the concept, and 3. Scalability Ideas should be
beyond the initial target business models that are scalable to ensure sustainability.
geography, and that can dependent on other players
4. Numbers The numbers should
Samih Toukan add up and should be realistic.

Laith Zraikat 5. Commitment This is a must, as

Senior Investment Manager at Arzan Venture Capital unfortunately it is becoming a trend | @laithz with entrepreneurs -especially the
younger ones- to ‘try’ things out to

“ prefer startups ask for help and advice as the pitch thing, here’s what I’d be waiting see if it works or not!”
opposed to pitching. Their questions will to hear:
hold everything I need to know: team,
product, traction, challenges, what they’ve 1. INTRO Who are the team? What are
learned, and how I can add value. That said, you out to solve? What do you know that
if you manage to get me to watch you do others don’t? What have you proven to be
true that others believe is false? Use simple
terms, and no buzz words.

2. TRACTION Talk about traction if you

have any. Show some usage metrics,
revenues, and explain user behavior. If you
don’t have much traction, share some early
customer stories and prove that at least
some people love your product.
Walid Tahabsem, founder and CEO of ITG, and
co-founder and board member of Oasis500
3. DEMO Show me your product. Your
product demo will put everything into
perspective. It will also show that you can
execute. User experience is very important. 4. LEARNING PROCESS Demonstrate a
If you have a beautifully-built product, learning process. What worked, and why?
you’re halfway in. What didn’t work, and why not? Startups
usually don’t stick with the exact same idea
Talk about traction if you have they set out to build on day one. Being dy-
any. Show some usage metrics, namic and having an iterative experimental
methodology is essential.
revenues, and explain user
Laith Zraika,
behavior. If you don’t have much 5. VALUE ADD How can I help? Although
Investment traction, share some early money is very important, team is every-
Manager at customer stories and prove thing. A VC is part of that team. What value
Arzan Venture
Capital that at least some people love can I add and why is it going to be reward-
your product. ing to work with you?” >>>

february 2016 Entrepreneur 69

ask the money guy | vc viewpoint | your money | ECON

Mohammed Mohammed

Al-Ayouti Managing Director

of Vodafone
Ventures Egypt
Managing Director of
Vodafone Ventures Egypt

“ W
hen considering an
investment pitch,
here are the first five
things I look for:

1.TEAM The fact that a team

exists is the first filter. I don’t
like single-founder startups,
let alone one-man shows. The
team members have to share
the same vision, both short-
term and long-term, and the
key team members have to be
dedicated to the startup- not
employed elsewhere, or even
worse, juggling other startups.

Are the entrepreneurs out

there to create a lifestyle
business or are they setting
out to do 100x growth? A big
watch-out here is founder
compensation: entrepreneurs
seeking large salaries imply
that they seek comfort or
aren’t confident about their
startup, and that they are
diverting a large chunk of the
investment -given that we’re in
early stage- straight to their

EXECUTE Can the entrepre-
neurs pull it off? This would
be most apparent by how the

startup has progressed so far,
but can also be assessed from
their track record in previous
startups, and/or their career

3. MARKET UNDERSTANDING 4. COACHABILITY From expe- Can the entrepreneurs pull setting out to do 100x growth?
Does the team understand rience, the odds of success for it off? This would be most A big watch-out here is
the space they’re in? Do they an entrepreneur who is always apparent by how the startup founder compensation: entre-
know their competitors? Also, ‘right’ are very slim. It’s very has progressed so far, but preneurs seeking large salaries
I stay away from entrepreneurs likely that the startup will can also be assessed from imply that they seek comfort
their track record in previous
who say it’s an X billion dollar change direction a few times or aren’t confident about their
startups, and/or their career
market so if we get 1% we’ll be along the road as it seeks its experience. startup, and that they are
great. The question is how will product-market fit, and the diverting a large chunk of the
you achieve that 1%? Bottom- CEO has to show that he or 5. HUNGER Are the entrepre- investment -given that we’re
up sizing beats top-down she will listen and respond to neurs out there to create a in early stage- straight to their
sizing in my book. feedback. lifestyle business or are they pockets.”

february 2016 Entrepreneur 71

start it up ecosystem | who’s got VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE

Road warrior Teach Me Now

founder Thea
Myhrvold at the
Infiniti Lab in
UAE startup Teach Me Now wins Hong Kong Hong Kong
pitching contest By Pamella de Leon

nfiniti Middle East As a global marketplace
held its first speed wherein anyone can learn
pitching session in and teach with anyone on
December last year, a one-to-one basis in real
which gave 30 bud- time, Teach Me Now’s busi-
ding entrepreneurs ness model is as follows:
seven minutes to tutors can set up their
pitch their ideas to three own hourly rate, with the
judges in an Infiniti Q70, startup selling with a 15%
while being driven around markup for access to their
one of Dubai Autodrome’s virtual classrooms, and a
racetracks. Talk about a pay-as-you-go system, so
memorable elevator pitch, that students only pay for
right? That was how the time they spend learning
Teach Me Now founder with tutor of their choice. and CEO Dr. Ali Infinity Lab, Hong Kong
Thea Myhrvold described With an average hourly rate Baghdadi is a
the experience too. The of $25 per hour, some of the mentor and chair-
25-year-old founder of the platform’s classes include man of the board
educational tech platform languages, math, chess the- for Teach Me
was selected to represent the ory, programming and cur- Now, the startup
GCC and Levant region along riculums for IB, GCSE, SAT, also boasts of
with two other startups, and Ivy League graduates as a partnership
social network Fallaha and well. Myhrvold believes that with Microsoft’s
booking appointment app user feedback is essential in BizSpark, a three-
Bookr. The contest’s finish improving their product, so year program that
line (excuse our pun) was developing and creating new helps startups
held at the Infiniti Lab in features, such as launching by providing free access to how the legal and business
Hong Kong, where the three white-label and customized Microsoft’s cloud services, infrastructures can still be
finalists received mentoring solutions for schools, insti- tools and support. This improved, while commend-
and coaching sessions with tutes and governments for partnership with BizSpark ing startup hubs and incuba-
Infiniti and Nest executives. more teachers and students proved to be especially tors in5 and AstroLabs for
Myhrvold’s startup won to use their technology is worthwhile, because thanks helping in reducing setting
the final round of the pitch part of their next phase. Up to it, Myhrvold had the up costs. “It is hard for small
after a 10-minute presenta- and coming partnerships chance to meet Microsoft tech companies -who don’t
tion and a Q&A with the is also on Teach Me Now’s CEO Satya Nadella during need an office- to set up
panel of judges, and gained agenda. his visit to Dubai in January shop and hire people to even
US$40,000 in seed funding. While Aptec founder this year. “To have an hour get to MVP,” says Myhrvold,
with someone of his caliber noting that these hurdles are
listening to what we do, usually lower barriers to en-
giving us feedback and po- try elsewhere. However, she
tentially strengthening our insists the incentives to start
partnership beyond BizSpark up a business in Dubai and
thea myhrvold meeting satya nadella image courtesy microsoft gulf

is a once-in-a-lifetime op- stay here outweigh it. “There

portunity,” says Myhrvold. is an amazing opportunity to
As Teach Me Now is her make and impact the startup
second venture in UAE and tech space, and it is
(her first was IB Smart, a still early days in that sense.
gamified app for students I am proud to be a female
with learning challenges entrepreneur in Dubai, and
like ADHD and dyslexia), there is nowhere else in the
Myhrvold is no stranger region I would rather start.
to the ups and downs of I feel very encouraged and
the city’s entrepreneurial supported by the community
Teach Me Now founder Thea Myhrvold meeting Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella ecosystem- she mentions and infrastructure.”

72 Entrepreneur february 2016

ecosystem | who’s got VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE
start it up

President of IDB Group Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Ali,

Mohammed Felloouse, CEO, El Wifack,

RAMEZ MOHAMMED team. Third, addressing a shrinking or

dying market- especially if the product
Khaled Al Aboodi, CEO, ICD

CEO, FLAT6LABS @ramezm is not scalable to other vertical or

geographical markets. We, as Flat6Labs,
Q What are the biggest red usually shy away from investing in startups
flags you’ve seen in startup whose product is not scalable beyond a
business plans? few thousand customers/users. In this
A “First, not doing their homework in early stage we prefer to invest in startups
terms of market research, customer that have the potential to grow rapidly
discovery, and understanding competition. at some point in the future, if provided
Second, no coherent or fully committed with the appropriate mentorship, support
and capital. The fourth set of issues we Round two!
see in startup business plans are fatal QSTP concludes second
hazards. Fatal hazards include stolen IP, accelerator program with young
local regulatory restrictions, complicated entrepreneurs
onshore/offshore ownership structures,

and unfamiliar jurisdictions. If a startup is ine aspiring entrepreneurs have
planning to use IP that is not licensed or completed their three-month long
open source to use, this is usually a huge training and mentorship experi-
red flag to us. We definitely prefer startups ence with business and technology
that a) develop their own IP or b) use an leaders, under Qatar Science & Technology
Ramez Mohamed, CEO, Flat6Labs
external party IP legally.” Park’s (QSTP) second Accelerator Program.
QSTP, headed by Managing Director Hamad
Al Kuwari, is a part of Qatar Foundation
Research and Development, and this particular
initiative, aiming to help promising entrepre-
A congregation of Eurasia’s neurs bridge gaps between inspiring ideas and
entrepreneurial world feasible businesses, offers participants a mix
of both funding and mentoring.
Startup Turkey 2016 comes calling QSTP staged a demo day for startups on

January 18, 2016 to mark the conclusion of
ith 700+ invitees com- addition, attendees can expect to see the Accelerator Program. The entrepreneurs
prising of entrepreneurs, pitching sessions, and talks by relevant showcased their models in sectors and
investors, accelerators, investors and executives. industries that included media technology,
corporates and mentors, With a line-up of speakers including health and fitness, education, and enter-
the eighth edition of Startup Turkey Sebastiaan Vaessen, Head of Strategy tainment. The nine projects graduating the
2016 aims to bring together members of e-commerce, Naspers Group, Yousef current accelerator program include V3V,
the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Eu- Hamidaddin, CEO, Oasis 500 and Tweet Mogaz, Aingel, Gamified Self, Metis,
rope, West Asia, Middle East and Africa Kıvanç Onan, General Manager Turkey, EcoGym, Ergonomic T-Shirt, MaktApp, and
at Antalya this year. Besides offering Middle East & North Africa, PayPal, the Braille Touch. The demo day brought to light
a multitude of networking opportuni- event is also expected to include ven- ideas like TweetMogaz, a news portal that
ties through everything from dinners to ture capitalists and angel investors from crowdsources news from social media posts of
startup competitions, the event, which across MENA, Eurasia, and the U.S. individual users, and MaktApp, a portfolio of
is to be held from 25-27 February, The sponsors for this year’s event all-in-one cloud solutions for SMEs. Metis, a
will also include training sessions for include IBM, Microsoft, Intel, PayPal project by students at Carnegie Mellon Univer-
selected seed and early stage startups and Samsung among others. sity in Qatar, assists in academic planning for
applying for the startup challenge. In undergraduate students, while Braille Touch
is a project that aids reading for the visually
impaired through the use of existing touch
QSTP’s Accelerator Program sets out three
clear objectives for those accepted into the
program to work on: create a conceptual
prototype, verify commercial viability, and ac-
cess potential investors. Key program partners
included Qatar Computing Research Institute
(QCRI) and the Supreme Committee for Deliv-
ery and Legacy’s Challenge 22.

Some of the speakers at Startup Turkey 2016

february 2016 Entrepreneur 73

start it up ecosystem | who’s got VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE

easier to gain seed money The process on questions that may arise
from various smaller inves- The process began with from prospective investors,
tors, instead of targeting just Mamarbachi submitting her with the Artscoops team
one or two high-net-worth business plan with a five then given the opportunity
individuals, or an institu- year projection to an invest- to pitch to a room full of
tion. Among the factors ment committee, which de- potential financial backers
that influenced her choice termines the proposal’s eligi- in Dubai.
were the benefit of Arts- bility to be on the website or
coops getting validated by not, checking “if it is viable, What happens next
the “crowd,” as well as the an interesting business or al- Mamarbachi has planned
ability to include her family ready has proof of concept.” the funds to be divided into
and friends who wished to In this stage, Mamarbachi two broad areas: 75% of it
“participate in [their busi- recalls an account man- will go into operations and
ness] journey.” The process ager was available “doing IT development, and 25%
also allowed Mamarbachi what’s called an ‘onboard- in marketing and advertis-
to learn how to evaluate a ing’ consultancy with us.” ing. On Artscoops’ agenda is

Seeing business, presenting it in a

one-minute pitch, defend-
It took approximately one
month to prepare require-
creating an online auction
feature, a mobile application,

ing its financial projections, ments such as its executive a design platform, and a re-
and pitching in front of total summary, business plan and sponsive website, alongside
strangers, while being ready creating offshore company, goals to hold a live auction

to answer potential ques- followed by a three-month in Beirut and further work in
tions on the site’s live Q&A planning for the launch. The marketing, SEO and gallery
feature. Eureeca team trained them expansion in the GCC.
MENA art platform
Artscoops gets Featured artworks on Artscoops’ website

funded through equity

crowdinvesting on
Eureeca By Pamella de Leon

nstead of going for the
usual funding routes taken
by startups in the Middle
East region, Artscoops
chose another option to grow
its business: crowdinvest-
ing. The MENA art platform
specializing in buying and
selling art from MENA
artists and commercial
galleries has raised funds
through equity crowd-
funding platform Eureeca.
Commenting on the raise,
co-founder Raya Mamar-
bachi says, “We raised
US$130,000, although we
have yet to receive anything
as we are still in the process
of finalizing the shareholder
agreement and issuing the
shares, but after Eureeca’s
fees are given, I think it will
be around $105-110,000.”
Mamarbachi decided to opt
for the equity crowdfund-
ing route than traditional

means of raising capital after

reasoning that it might be

74 Entrepreneur february 2016

Equity crowdinvesting: funding option. For a business to succeed Sam
what you need to know on a platform like Eureeca, it needs to be Co-founder
Eureeca Managing Director and scalable and also have a feasible future and
co-founder Sam Quawasmi exit opportunity to attract potential Managing
According to Eureeca co-founder and
Managing Director Sam Quawasmi, 3. Beware of overvaluation.
Artscoops’ campaign on the equity “Another pitfall is for businesses to
crowdfunding platform saw a total of 49 overvalue themselves. It is natural
investors from its network (incidentally, for entrepreneurs to seek the highest
it’s a Eureeca record) contributing to valuation possible, but they must
funding the enterprise, which specializes be wary of overdoing it. Over-valued
in buying and selling art from MENA businesses won’t get funded and
artists and commercial galleries. Being entrepreneurs need to ask themselves
a scalable business in the emerging if they are willing to greatly delay
art market of the MENA region made the capitalization process over their
Artscoops an attractive enterprise on valuation.”
Eureeca, given the potential for it to be
acquired by a larger online marketplace 4. Use your network effectively.
in the future. For startups hoping to “Generating early momentum in a
replicate Artscoops’ success on Eureeca, campaign is important for it to be
here are a few of Quawasmi’s pointers successful, and the best way for
on what to keep in mind when consider- entrepreneurs to do this is to tap into
ing equity crowdinvesting as a funding their personal networks for investment. are talking about 10, 20, 50, even 100x
option: People who know you and your business multiples,” he says, adding that equity
are most likely to invest first. Once crowdfunding has made the asset class
1. Equity crowdinvesting requires they do so, and thereby validate your more accessible and not just limited
effort- a lot of it. “Entrepreneurs proposal, the crowd will have more to angel investors. “Now pretty much
who think they can launch a campaign, confidence to follow suit and invest. anyone can tap into the asset class and
and then check back in in a few weeks To not tap into your networks is risky. invest in deals that can potentially yield
to find that they have $300,000 in Eureeca works with all businesses on the this kind of returns.”
the bank, are mistaken. A lot of effort platform to build out their contact lists.
is required in the preparation of the You know a lot more people than you
proposal and engaging with investors think!” “Generating early momentum
during the campaign. If raising money in a campaign is important
offline is a full-time job, equity 5. The investors’ advantage. for it to be successful, and
crowdfunding makes it a part-time job.” For investors hesitant on the ROI of the best way for entrepre-
equity crowdinvesting as compared
neurs to do this is to tap into
2. Does your startup make the to traditional channels, Quawasmi
cut? According to Quawasmi, only points out that SME private equity, the
their personal networks for
businesses with two to three years of asset class offered on Eureeca, has the investment. People who know
operation and ideally generating revenue potential to generate large returns for you and your business are
should consider crowdinvesting as a investors when liquidity occurs. “We most likely to invest first.”

Artscoops Tips for MENA startups 2. Have a viable business

co-founders Raya when pitching from an model. “It’s better to already
and May Bendki equity crowdfunding have proven sales or concept
Mamarbachi platform [than] just an idea on paper,
Artscoops co-founder as it’s an ‘easier sell,’ even
Raya Mamarbachi better [if the startup] is [al-
ready] at growth stage.”
1. Be realistic. “Set a realistic
goal if you don’t reach 100% 3. Be willing to ask and
proceeds. It’s better to raise accept help. “Seek the advice
smaller amounts and use it of the [platform’s] invest-
wisely. Then, in the following ment committee on one’s
year, raise more, [instead of] evaluation, as they have more
trying to raise too much at knowledge of the startup
once. It sets a standard.” world.”

february 2016 Entrepreneur 75

start it up ecosystem | who’s got VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE

In short, the founder

describes MAGNiTT as “an
online community con-
necting entrepreneurs
and their startups to
investors, mentors, and
co-founders from the
MENA region.”

to filter through startups

from the region, as well as
to funnel information in
a consistent manner. It’s
definitely no surprise that
these were priorities, as the
founder reminded me several
times that it takes a mere
15 minutes to get a startup
listed on the platform.
Not only did Bahoshy
have to develop a top-notch
product, but he is also work-
ing on bringing in all of the
actors of the MENA startup
ecosystem in: we’re talking
startups, VCs, business
founders, and more. Sounds

A startup for startups to investors, men-

tors, and co-founders from
like a lengthy to-do list, and
it is, especially given that

the MENA region.” A web the team is only Bahoshy and
directory for startups by a “an outsourced tech devel-
startup? Sounds interesting. oper.” That said, the founder
Philip Bahoshy wants his online platform While much of the focus of is focusing on raising funds
MAGNiTT to create a tighter knit MENA-wide the respective MENA en- this year to grow the MAG-
entrepreneurial ecosystem By Kareem Chehayeb trepreneurial ecosystems is NiTT team. So far, the costs

on a local level, MAGNiTT’s have been allocated to the
lmost all And it turned out that he vision is broader, in that it is website’s development- and
entrepreneurs wasn’t the only one strug- regional. it’s all been bootstrapped
who have com- gling with this problem: But developing a MENA- to date. A beta version of
pleted their “The more I spoke to entre- wide platform like MAGNiTT MAGNiTT was released with
MBAs want to preneurs in the community, was not an easy feat. After limited access, something
immediately I realized that this was a designing the platform that Philip Bahoshy found
get the ball rolling on their similar problem for many.” using “lean methodology,” very helpful in hindsight.
enterprise ideas once they Bahoshy also mentions that Bahoshy then moved on to “This allowed us to improve
graduate, but many end up after noticing the problemat- two primary focuses: having and tweak the platform
struggling. Founder and CEO ic aspects of pitching events user-friendly mechanisms before opening it up to the
of MAGNiTT, Philip Bahoshy and other challenges entre-
was one of them. This preneurs face to get their
Philip Bahoshy,
British-Iraqi entrepreneur ideas to development stage, founder,
has been living in Dubai for he began to notice a gap that MAGNiTT
seven years, after earning he could fill. All in all, the
his B.Sc. in Economics from focus was on what he calls
the London School of Eco- the “invest-ability” of the
nomics, and an MBA from startup, with minimal focus
INSEAD. Bahoshy had many on “support, mentorship and
ideas that he wanted to de- guidance.” And that’s where
velop after finishing business MAGNiTT comes in.
school but “struggled with In short, the founder
getting concept validation, describes MAGNiTT as “an
guidance and support, and online community connect-
funding opportunities.” ing entrepreneurs and their

76 Entrepreneur february 2016

public,” says Bahoshy, who video on the platform. On MAGNiTT’s marketing game and STEP conferences. What
also says that it helped him an editorial note, MAGNiTT plays on several fronts, advice does he have to give
make an important decision: will launch a blog, which but “social media is key” to startups? “Listen, don’t
MAGNiTT will be a mobile- Bahoshy hopes will become a to the platform, according react, take time and perse-
responsive website, rather valuable resource for entre- to Bahoshy. The startup is vere, be agile, and solve a
than a platform that’s both a preneurs, as well as research active on Facebook, Twitter, problem.”
desktop website and an app. reports on the different and LinkedIn, and it has And Philip Bahoshy’s take
Does MAGNiTT have the markets and entrepreneurial used social media to directly on giving up all of his spare
pull needed to attract the ecosystems in the MENA interact with startups. The time for his startup? “I’m a
region’s entrepreneurial eco- region. As for making money founder also says that social firm believer that you either
system? First impressions off MAGNiTT, Bahoshy media has been a good give something a 110%, or
appear that way. “We’ve says he plans on two ap- tool for “education,” both don’t bother doing it at all.”
been able to attract more proaches to go about that: a for startups and other key
than 110 startups,” says the subscription model for users stakeholders in the entrepre- Not only did Bahoshy have
founder, adding that 300 that charges a premium for neurial ecosystem. Bahoshy to develop a top-notch
investors have also joined additional information, as has also been attending product, but he is also
over the last few months– a well as advertising revenue startup conferences across working on bringing in all
grand total of 800 users from service providers that the MENA region to reach of the actors of the MENA
so far. When asked about can support startups based out to startups, accelera- startup ecosystem in: we’re
the registered startups’ on their specific needs and tors, VCs, and incubators, talking startups, VCs, busi-
respective stages, Bahoshy requirements. including the recent RiseUp ness founders, and more.
claims that 77% “are look-
ing for mentorship for their
startups.” Moreover, 19%
of registered startups are at
their prototype testing stage,
while 17% are at seed stage.
MAGNiTT is also going well
on the networking front with
“over 120 connections in the
past two months alone.”
Going forward, there is still
much more that he wants
to add to MAGNiTT. Over
the next few months, we
can expect some small but
significant tweaks, including
“improved” profile pages,
funding sections, and a
more comprehensive startup
directory as well. There are
more plans for MAGNiTT
in the long term as well:
Bahoshy wants to add more
services for startups, includ-
ing legal, marketing, and
even HR. Also, startups will
be able to pitch to VCs via

MAGNiTT’s marketing
game plays on several
fronts, but “social
media is key” to the
platform, according to
Bahoshy. The startup
is active on Facebook,
Twitter, and LinkedIn,
and it has used social
media to directly
interact with startups.

february 2016 Entrepreneur 77

in pictures
Winners of the Arab Mobile Challenge on stage in Algiers, Algeria

Joseph Ged, CEO,

Ooredoo Algeria

Best Idea Stage Best Startup

Track with a prize Stage Track
of US$20,000 with a prize of
won by Vision US$20,000
Geeks of Sudan won by Bookr
of Kuwait

Doha Guide of Qatar

Speaking in code from Egypt, MyU from Kuwait Ooredoo to continue its policy
Algeria plays host to the finals of and Gravilog from Palestine- of encouraging national talents
were qualified to compete at the and skills through its various
Arab Mobile Challenge 2016 Global Mobile Challenge, which programs, including iStart,

teams from 10 mobile apps that would be takes place at the GSMA World tstart, Oobarmijoo and Injaz.”
different countries able to make a positive impact Congress at Barcelona, Spain Entrepreneur Middle East was
around the Middle across their respective com- in February. This year’s contest a media partner for the event,
East battled it munities. While Sudan’s Vision saw Ooredoo acting as the tech- organized annually by IM-
out in the regional finals of the Geeks and Kuwait’s Bookr won nological partner for the event, TIAZ MIDDLE EAST, with BNC
third cycle of the Arab Mobile US$20,000 each to help bring with Ooredoo Algeria CEO Jo- Publishing Director Wissam
Challenge at Algiers, Algeria their apps to market, five other seph Ged saying the company’s Younane also acting as a judge
in January this year, with the teams –Synoos from Algeria, support was a reiteration of for the competition.
competition aiming to find Doha Guide from Qatar, Raye7 “the constant commitment of

Stand out performances Qualified to compete at • Raye7 from Egypt, a

at AMC 2016 Global Mobile Challenge carpooling mobile app tailored
during the GSMA Mobile for the MENA region
Best Idea Stage Track World Congress at Barcelona • MyU from Kuwait, an internal
Vision Geeks from Sudan, an in February: social network for a school
app to aid the visually impaired • Synoos from Algeria, an app to • Gravilog from Palestine, an
help kids to improve their Arabic interactive healthcare app for
Best Startup Stage Track language, math and logical skills pregnant women connected
Bookr from Kuwait, an app to • Doha Guide from Qatar, an with their doctors via an
book any appointment-based app to find services and search electronic medical record over
service without the use of the Internet the cloud Raye7 of Egypt

78 Entrepreneur february 2016

Your Gateway
to the World of

Take your business ideas to promising new heights and develop

your skills to become a successful entrepreneur in Dubai.
Tejar Dubai is an initiative by Dubai Chamber which aims at
qualifying and enabling creative Emirati youth to enter the world of
entrepreneurship through three key pillars: assess, assist and
attain. This program aims to raise competitiveness of national small
and medium enterprises (SME) in Dubai.

Initiative by

π«é°ùàdGh äÉeƒ∏©ŸG ø`e ójõŸ @TejarDubai :≈`∏Y Éfƒ``©HÉ`J
start it up ecosystem | who’s got VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE

certified graduate
sponsored by dubai chamber
in the spirit of facilitating emirati
achievement via entrepreneurship

54° East founder enter- this is not just to make

the food truck business sus-
own festival-type atmosphere
with last year’s Roundup
uses her business to build tainable, but also to enhance
the social activities in Dubai.
Market boasting over 30,000
visitors, and she plans on
your business People [in UAE] socialize in getting even more footfalls
malls, bars and restaurants, for 2016’s edition. “Roundup
Emirati ‘trep Rafia Al Mulla on F&B, expansions, but seldom on the beach as Market is the idea born in
and entrepreneurship we do in Europe or America. our desire to create a food

So we want to enhance, for truck village with a minimum
or Roundup, making Administration in Real Estate instance, the park experi- of six trucks on site and fur-
people’s entrepre- Management and a Higher ence. Our food trucks will be ther 20 F&B kiosks. Roundup
neurship dream a Diploma in Marketing, has fun- not just food.” Al Mulla, Market will come back for
reality has been our developed a large scale enter- active in the entrepreneurial another run this year, 2016.
goal from the very prise that not only develops ecosystem as part of Tejar We plan to make it bigger and
beginning. By help- homegrown brands, it actu- Dubai and the Dubai Business fun, and fully reach out to all
ing them with their ally facilitates those brands Women Council, launched people who have been craving
food truck businesses we getting out into the market 54º East with a large-scale to try and visit the Roundup
achieved this goal,” explains via Roundup food trucks, a vision. She later created her Market.”
Rafia Al Mulla, an entrepre- 54º East company. “Roundup
neur leveraging her own ven- handles everything from the
tures to allow other aspiring truck ordering, equipment fit
‘treps do the very same thing. out, licensing, registration,
Al Mulla’s impressive foray delivery and even site allow-
into UAE’s F&B space began ance, for a monthly fee on top
with a now 22-strong chain of the cost of the truck. We
of frozen yogurt outlets, and are a one-stop solution from
since then, she launched yet support to building up the
another successful and grow- company with trade licenses,
ing subsidiary. The industri- customization of menus,
ous founder of 54º East, a government approvals, and
graduate of Cornell Univer- locations.”
sity’s School of Hotel Ad- “The idea of Roundup is to
ministration in Foodservice give those interested in F&B
Management who also has a access to vehicles and access
Bachelor’s Degree in Business the areas they could not

80 Entrepreneur february 2016

Do you consider 54° in UAE which is expected to
East a startup since serve an estimated 2.5 billion
you’re already a large people every day. Roundup
operation? food trucks will lead the way
“Yes. 54° East is a company to the future of gastronomic
that is getting bigger and big- mobility in Dubai and the UAE
ger every year. I want to tap in enriching dining experiences
to all F&B corners as much as with authentic food concepts.
possible. This way, I am able to Furthermore, our mission is to
reach all my market and cater develop and create a profes-
them with good and quality sional B2B network by offering
service. Roundup aims to cater and giving support to other
different concepts to fit into F&B operations.”
people’s ever changing taste in
food. With the list of food truck Can you elaborate on
members that we have on our Roundup’s roster of
team, we can assure that we brands that are food Calle Tacos UAE, Toasted, From shawarma to desserts to
appeal to all demographics and truck members? Shawarma Station, Bio Bean Mexican food to Italian cuisine
are suitable also for catering “Roundup handles everything Coffee, Shawarmaty, The Mob to organic specialty coffee
bookings and private events from the truck ordering, Truck, Go Bai, Kono Pizza, Fit to gourmet grilled cheese
all over UAE. It is one of our equipment fit out, licensing, Truck, Fruteiro, and Mr. Brisket. sandwiches to delicious wings
strategic plans to diversify in registration, delivery, and even We can say that all of our food and burgers to bagels, and
our product range and loca- site allowance, for a monthly trucks are unique and special many more.”
tions by expanding into a wider fee on top of the cost of the in their own way. All of our
variety of cuisines providing truck. Food trucks who are food trucks offers different As an entrepreneur how
opportunity for every eating proud Roundup members and delicious menus that all do you stay motivated?
occasion.” includes Mastiha Shop UAE, people will definitely enjoy. “Passion. What matters most
is how you treat your clients
Where did the idea for -make your clients happy and
Roundup by 54° East give them what others will not-
originate? that’s the key stepping stone.
“I have been in the F&B and I always love competition. This
catering business for more than way, I have a good perspective
10 years now, and with my ex- on how to improve my busi-
perience I believe that UAE is a ness, and become motivated
potent source for international every day to become better
F&B ideas and concepts. The organization.”
idea of Roundup by 54° East
evolved to infuse the UAE mar-
ket with the concept of having Become an emerging
diverse street food with a bet- Emirati entrepreneur
ter international forefront. We
Tejar Dubai is here to help
believe that food trucks (along
you realize your enterprise
with portable food kiosks and
food carts), will be the headline
of the street food industry Tejar Dubai is a development
program committed to nurturing
potential UAE nationals into
“With the list of food truck becoming entrepreneurs.
members that we have on our
team, we can assure that we Launched in 2013, the
appeal to all demographics program identifies, develops,
and are suitable also for and mentors promising UAE
catering bookings and nationals to expedite the growth
private events all over UAE. of an embryonic business idea
It is one of OUR strategic and advance it to the point
plans to diversify in our of being ready for immediate
product range and locations
by expanding into a wider
variety of cuisines providing | @TejarDubai
opportunity for every eating TejarDubai | TejarDubai

february 2016 Entrepreneur 81

start it up ecosystem | who’s got VC | Q&A | STARTUP FINANCE

The problem is, most cor- grow, they typically add

porations are not struc- layers of management, and
tured for making multiple systems and processes
small investments or rapid become more complex. Get-
acquisitions. Even venture ting close to entrepreneurs’
capitalists, whose job is to resilience, innovation, col-
pick winners, have a suc- laboration, simplicity and
cess rate of just 20% and fail-fast philosophy reboots
many corporations don’t the corporate culture,
have an appetite for that which can transform vener-
kind of risk. The catch-22 able giants of business into
is that as a disruptive something that is relatively
startup gains market share, nimble and agile.
its value increases expo- Finally, startups can
nentially, often reaching illuminate new ways of
100 times its earnings or doing business by identify-
more. With the benefit of ing gaps and turning them
hindsight, we all know the into growth engines. This
value of Amazon, Google has happened in long-
and Facebook, but who established sectors such
understands the value of as telecommunications,
Slack or thousands of other banking, insurance, travel,
startups? health care, airlines, trans-
Some corporations do get portation, retail, fashion,
it though. Huge companies media and energy... the list
that have successfully is endless. These changes
taken the path of making are being driven mostly by
multiple small investments advances in technology,
include Google, Intuit and coupled with new business

ing a hard look at how to General Electric. Google, models.
grow their business and Yahoo and Facebook, Corporations need to be
transform their industries. among others, adopted close to startups to under-

startups Here are four reasons why.

First, acquiring or invest-
early acquisition strategies,
while Barclays, Disney,
stand how their businesses
are changing and what

are good ing in a startup can be

less expensive and more
Coca-Cola and Zain have
created industry-vertical
is on the horizon. If they
don’t, there’s a good chance

for big
effective for rapid growth business accelerators to they will be left behind.
than a company’s own boost startups. These Sadly, many big busi-
research and develop- big-name corporations nesses in the Middle East

By Con O’Donnell
ment. Internal R&D rarely
disrupts a company, much
less an industry; startups,
get it, and they have made
nurturing startups part of
their corporate DNA.
and North Africa region
and elsewhere are stuck in
the “look at the cute little
by definition, will. So Secondly, today’s start- entrepreneurs” phase.

hy are the big- maintaining close relation- ups will be tomorrow’s Creating an environment
gest corpora- ships to entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies. where entrepreneurship
tions in the startups that are driving An analysis of the business and innovation can thrive
world getting the innovation of entire landscape by Innosight, a should be business as
close to entrepreneur- industries is key to growing top global consultancy, pre- usual. With their ample
ship and startups? I’m not and innovating individual dicts that three-quarters of cash and know-how, large
talking about incorporating businesses ahead of the current S&P 500 compa- corporations are well posi-
them into some “aren’t- competition. This can be nies will disappear in the tioned to compete for the
those-entrepreneurs-cute” done by acquiring startups next 10 years. And who best and brightest in the
corporate social responsi- -and their talent- outright, will replace them? Mostly entrepreneurial ecosystem.
bility scheme. I’m talking or by investing in them to companies that don’t exist Yet venture capitalists are
about a serious strategy ensure the corporation has today. far ahead when it comes to
on the part of some of the a stake in their future or, Then there is the restora- financing new enterprises.
biggest and best-known better still, partnering with tion of an entrepreneurial For big business, opportu-
corporations that are tak- them early on. mindset. As companies nity is knocking.

Entrepreneur Con O’Donnell is an investor in 11 promising Egyptian tech startups. He co-founded Arabic dotcom pioneer Sarmady
Communications and was a first-mover in digital advertising for mobile apps. O’Donnell is also the co-founder of RiseUp, one of
the MENA region’s top entrepreneurship events.

82 Entrepreneur february 2016